Samuel Beckett has a place in the heart of many a frustration. He speaks to us. He cajoles, he teases, he draws our weary bodies to the brink. Then drags us back, our heels scraping in the dirt. He gives us our dusty heroes, makes them breathe in front of us, encourages us to feel their anguish. The murk of pathos tugs at the heart of the listeners, competing with disgust. A shared carrot, a turnip eaten along the dusty road, a chance encounter with slave and master. The hanging tree without the necessary rope. An over-extended and exaggerated leash of willing subjugation. Sleeping while awake. A suitcase full of sand and a small picnic-basket.. The lonely child.
Vladimir, Estragon, Pozzo, Lucky. And you, boy without the honour of a name.
Where are you now? Do you still wander the Wasteland of T S Eliot's imaginings? Do you feel cheated? Surely, wherever you are you do. Or do you snigger behind the protection of your creator? In truth, Mr. Beckett, were you using them too?
If you look towards the horizon, they may appear. There, behind the solitary rock. Waiting, still. If you hurry, you might catch up. They will move eventually.
V- You asked me about hope, I believe. I believe that was the thrust. The gist of i
E- Perhaps I have too curious a mind. Perhaps I hope against the grain of things.
V- You strive for enlightenment, as do we all.
V- I believe so. In my experience there is a usual consensus in that regard. Better that than hopelessness. We should strive at all times to dissuade ourselves from apathy.
E- Never that. Heaven and hell forbid. But I believe in enquiry. We are empiricists, are we not? Rationalists.
V- Alas, yes - but only in ambition. To expect more would be arrogant.
E- Pomposity in the making, I would call it. Biting off more than one could realistically be expected to chew. A fool's errand.
V- Pulling the wool over one's own eyes. Hoodwinking on a grand scale.
E- Quite, quite. Very well put, comrade. Nothing so objectionable in my book than blind or misplaced faith in providence. Therein lies ruin. Self-immolation.
V- Far more fruitful to seek knowledge beyond the tenuous world of the supernatural.
E- In science. In the comfort and reassurance of the tangible
V- Very possibly in science, yes. Science is the thing, certainly. No doubt about it.
E- Forgive me for saying, mon ami, but I detect a modicum of doubt.
V- Sorry. I was thinking of something else. A matter unrelated to neither science nor the supernatural.
V- My boots, damn them.
E- Your boots?
V- My boots. As I said.... can you not recognise my discomfort? My damnable boots. Has life on the road dulled your senses so completely that you can no longer empathise? Does my pain no longer elicit the appropriate sympathy? How quickly things change. Oh, well. I suppose it is the way of the world, after all. My aching feet no longer register in the cosmic scheme of things. My boots....
E- Your damn boots...
V- Yes, those. They and I are as two grains of dust.
E- You hyperbolise, as usual.
V- As usual?
E- As is your wont. You have a tendency towards melodrama. I think it is the latent actor in you, if you want my opinion. Perhaps you were a grand and well-renowned thespian in a previous life.
V- Or this one. I must admit to an inclination. Call it a longing, if you like. An unfulfilled opportunity.
E- An ache.
V- Very like an ache. Very like the actual, physical, undeniable ache of my poor feet. Not unlike at all. Old boots, old feet - that's me, comrade. That is my punishment for some past wrong or slight, I'm sure of it. Old boots, old feet, old ambition.
E- Shall we stop, then? Unburden ourselves of our discomfort?
V- Yes, yes. A capital suggestion and timely. Now, rummage through your multitudinous pockets and find us a cigarette to share, if you can. Let us try to find a little solace.
E- We'll talk for a while, if you'd like. Before the sun disappears. Before we turn in.
V- While we are waiting, yes. I need to think and not ponder. There is a distinct demarcation, do you not agree?
E- Certainly. Thinking is a sedative, I always find. Right-thinking, at any rate. That's the most important proviso. A bad thought is as disruptive as a bad word before bed-time. And an ill-timed ponder could keep you awake all night. But remind me...what are we waiting for?
V- We're waiting for...
Of course, this could go on forever. An eternal loop of indirection, doubt and blind uncertainty. The waiting is all...
A place of endless wonder without dragons. The home of the dodgy dialectic. A sanctuary for the frustrated and the terminally curious. Where debate meets damnation and humour lurks to surprise the unwary. From critical acclaim to diatribe. Don't be scared - come along for the ride.