Notebook for Samuel Beckett's Schiller production of Warten auf Godot (Waiting for Godot)


From the mid 1960s Samuel Beckett began to direct his own plays for theatre and for television. This is the second of two notebooks that Beckett kept for his first production of Waiting for Godot (Warten auf Godot), staged at the Schiller Theater Werkstatt in Berlin, March 1975 – a venue he would return to for many other productions of his own work. All quoted text is from the German translation of the play, while Beckett’s directorial notes are in English.

As well as containing revisions to the script, the notebook displays Beckett’s incredibly precise, meticulous approach to directing his own work. Beckett kept notebooks like this one for all of his productions. Together, they are invaluable for showing us Beckett’s dynamic, evolving vision for the staging of his work, as he directed from within the theatre space.

In the first notebook, Beckett divides Godot into 11 sections. Act 1 is ‘A’ and Act 2 is ‘B’; e.g. references to ‘A2’ mean the second section of Act 1. Throughout this notebook, Beckett creates thematic groupings of lines and moments within the play, as well as groupings for its staging such as ‘Tree’ and ‘Whip’. Groupings shown here include ‘E’s feet’ (Estragon’s struggles to pull his boots on or off, and instances of pain in his feet), and ‘Doubts confusions’ (moments where Vladimir and Estragon question time, place and people, e.g. ‘Was haben wir gestern gemacht?’ [What did we do yesterday?]).

Halfway down the page titled ‘E’s feet’, Beckett has noted ‘KDF’ next to Act 1’s closing scene. These are the initials of 19th-century German Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich, whose painting Two Men Contemplating the Moon is a visual inspiration for the play.

Full title:
Production notebook II for Warten auf Godot at the Schiller Theater, Berlin: 8 March 1975.
Manuscript / Notebook / Draft / Draft
Samuel Beckett
Usage terms

Samuel Beckett: © The Estate of Samuel Beckett. The above selected images reproduced by kind permission of the Estate of Samuel Beckett c/o Rosica Colin Limited, London.

© Beckett International Foundation, University of Reading

Held by
Beckett International Foundation, University of Reading
MS 1396/4/4

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