Beckett, Deleuze and Performance: A Thousand Failures and A Thousand Interventions
Book: Beckett, Deleuze and Performance: A Thousand Failures and A Thousand Interventions
Written by: Daniel Koczy
Published by: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018
The book, ‘Beckett, Deleuze and Performance: A Thousand Failures and A Thousand Interventions’ explores the intersection of performance and philosophy by fusing the philosophical concepts of Gilles Deleuze with Samuel Beckett’s theatrical ideas.
The first section of the book focuses on Beckett’s theatre which offers a fertile terrain for investigating the interplay between “artistic expression and the chaos of being” (p.3). Chapters on Beckett such as ‘Neither with you nor without you’ delves into Beckett’s idea of ‘nothing’ and his ‘non-relational aesthetics’. “Examining Beckett’s aesthetic statements, we saw Beckett advocating a non-relational aesthetics in which an audience might begin to sense a chaos so removed from meaningfulness and so opposed to the very possibility of comprehension that it could only be expressed as nothing” (p.214).The second contention of the book posits that Gilles Deleuze’s philosophical contributions are valuable resources for understanding theatrical encounters, given his extensive work in areas such as philosophy, psychoanalysis, cinema, and the arts. By drawing on Deleuze’s ideas, the book suggests that one can gain fresh insights into the relationship between performance and philosophy and deepen ones understanding of both fields. “Here, we saw how Deleuze and Guattari ask us to forgo questions of meaning or interpretation in favour of approaching the artwork as an autonomous compound of sensation”(p.214).
“These readings of Beckett and Deleuze allowed us to propose the following method for our explorations: (1)identify aspects of Beckett’s theatrical practice likely to foster non-encounter in performance; (2)ask what concepts drawn from Deleuze’s philosophy might be of use in trying to diagnose an audience’s becomings with these aspects of Beckett’s theatrical landscapes; (3)ask how these concepts fail at this task; (4) place these concepts and these features of Beckett’s stage into new fields of connections;…”(p.215)Beckett, Deleuze and Performance