Eleuthéria by Samuel Beckett
All-time favourite word? “Krapp”. worstwriterdotcom is, fittingly, full of the word ‘krapp’. Oh, how I wish I could get credit for coining such a word. But all for naught. So much for worst-writer’s attempt at replacing the word absurd with it. I mean, what sounds better, dear worst-reader, “everything is absurd” or “everything is krapp”? Nomatter. If I could coin such a worst-word then the worst-world-over could forward me a nickel every time it’s used. And then maybe, just maybe, I would earn as much as Samuel Beckett earned from the receipts of his plays. But such is the absurd… I mean krapp. Which brings me to other earnings.
Curse the day I read Godot the first time. Although I’ve almost forgotten that special day, Godot hangs on to me like the stickiness of severed flesh where parts of my arm or leg dangle in a wind coming off the north sea coast, embellished and enriched with salty air and the million year murkiness of a future ready for more petroleum, less reading, absurdity status quo and sharks that bite but also forget. And all the above makes the (almost) forgotten day grand, to say the least. How counter intelligent, eh? For I realised at that moment after reading Godot that Theatre Of The Absurd ain’t such a damning thing and I need not lay waste to such days. What a great way to figure out the humdrum of this or that life, eh? Or to see through the valance covering the life of others. In this particular case, or valance, one can see through Samuel Beckett’s life–at least in part his literary life. I like to think of Eleutheria as Beckett’s first and last play. That is, he wrote it before he wrote Godot but Eleutheria was rejected for Godot and hence theatre has never been the same. When the play was finally published Beckett was no more. So who do we thank for this and what should have been published sooner? Again. Nomatter. Since publishers seem to be the ones that caused this to take so long (after Beckett’s death) then all that’s left is all the absurd… Krapp. Wait. Or do we thank death, the only real thing left?
M. Krap: One moment. Finding it therefore impossible to live and recoiling from the great cure, through a sense of decency, or through cowardce, or because of the very fact that he is not living, what can man do to avoid the oh so very discreet and unobtrusive insanity he has been taught to dread? He can pretend to be living and that others live. -Samuel Beckett “Eleutheria”
As is the case with all things of absurd yet valuable, leave it up to publishers to have a shit-fit about who-when-where would publish this piece of literary history. Thank Godot it made it, thank Godot for human mortality, and thank him again for Beckett’s last breath. Indeed, a valued piece of literary history. Ad absurdum. Can be had by all.
What this play is about is irrelevant. Yet its content should, somehow, be known. So. It’s about the Krap family. They are a bourgeois family and after the death of the father the son must cope. Cope with what? Well, this is a Beckett play and it either holds the seeds to what will come or it is the blossom of what has been. But even that doesn’t matter. And unlike Godot, Eleutheria doesn’t contemplate death but maybe it should. For in Godot the main character never appears but in Eleutheria the main character is everybody–even an “audience member” that, without trickery or other forms of drama-magic, appears in the play. This play is extremely complicated and for the most part in-cohesive. But if you concentrate on the words, the mis-en-scene, nothingelsematters. Yet while trying to find a way through it I eventually realised that the family name Krap was used again by Beckett in his infamous play Krapp’s Last Tape. Ah, maybe there is trickery going on here. This play is indeed connected to much of Beckett’s work, probably more his prose than his dialogue. But I will not go down that analytical path–as I don’t think Beckett did either. Instead I will stick with the unknown and the in-cohesive and Godot and dangling limbs and north sea sharks with small Germanic spicy teeth and überpowerful jaw. And the fact that a poet of this magnitude could use the same name twice? Yes, it’s hard to let go–this wondrous absurdity. Or is Beckett actually writing the absurdity twice but hidden under a different valance? Ah. The genius nobel laureates, dear worst-reader, they all deserve their titles and their earnings for coming up with tricks and dicks. For you see, Beckett added a ‘p’ to the infamous name and thereby also adding a bit more absurdity he created Krapp. If only another ‘p’ could be added to absurd. Nomatter. Eleutheria means liberty in greek but this play frees no one except maybe a whacked-out doctor that preaches to those who cannot face the absurdity of life and judging it so. Here, ironically, a “doctor” explains life and what should be done about it.
Dr. Piouk: Here it is. I would prohibit reproduction. I would perfect the condom and other appliances and generalise their use. I would create state-run corps of abortionists. I would impose the death sentence on every woman guilty of having given birth. I would drawn the newborn. I would campaign in the favour of homosexuality and myself set the example. And to get things going, I would encourage by every means the recourse to euthanasia, without, however, making it an obligation. Here you have the broad outlines. -Samuel Beckett “Eleutheria”