Catastrophe : Beckett"s Individualist Politics Manifested
Catastrophe (1984) reenacts the violence of system as the Director, whom one may call Beckett"s most conspicuous embodiment of social authority, forces the theatrical system to abuse and victimize an actor (Protagonist). Beckett"s motivation with the play is known to be political since it was written to support Vaclav Havel, imprisoned by the Communist state for his antiestablishment activities. While the content of the transgressive action leading to his victimization is muted, the silenced individual vis-?vis the tyrannizing directing system reveals Beckett"s political concern with individualism infringed upon by the dynamics of the systematized social relations. Catastrophe shows how Becketts latent individualistic, and hence ultimately anarchistic, tendency finally oozes out as an apparent criticism on the systemic victimization of an individual, triggered by a humanistic compassion for Havel, a political prisoner. The authoritarian theater politics in Catastrophe forms in a way a certain self-portrait of Beckett himself. His dictatorial and often hostile attitude toward the directors and producers whose approaches to his plays differed from his own is somewhat notorious and often a target of the complaints by various theater communities. His determined refusal to allow different theatrical interpretations of his work is quite ironical as we recall that his aesthetic principle stands against any act of naming. This irony brought on by Beckett"s self-reflection, however, adds more complexity to the very compact play.
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