Photographs of Happy Days by Samuel Beckett (1979 revival starring Billie Whitelaw)

Description

Samuel Beckett's Happy Days was first staged in 1961 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, New York. This revival, produced at the Royal Court Theatre in 1979, was directed by Beckett and starred Billie Whitelaw as Winnie. In a set designed by Jocelyn Herbert, these production photographs show Whitelaw in the first act of the play, buried up to her waist in a mound of sand. Winnie's handbag and some its contents can be seen within the shots.

Whitelaw's interpretations of Beckett's plays are renowned for their power. She is regarded as a definitive Beckettian performer, as well as Beckett's muse. Beckett wrote Footfalls (1976) specifically for her, and the two had a very close, collaborative working relationship.

Full title:
Photographs of Happy Days by Samuel Beckett (1979 revival starring Billie Whitelaw at the Royal Court Theatre)
Created:
7 June 1979, Royal Court Theatre, London
Format:
Photograph / Image
Creator:
Donald Cooper [photographer]
Usage terms

© Donald Cooper / Photostage
www.photostage.co.uk

Held by
Photostage
Shelfmark:
00017746; 00017747; 00017749; 00017750

Related articles

Nonsense talk: Theatre of the Absurd

Article by:
Andrew Dickson
Themes:
Theatre practitioners and genres, 20th-century theatre, European influence, Capturing and creating the modern

Absurdist theatre responded to the destruction and anxieties of the 20th century by questioning the nature of reality and illusion. Andrew Dickson introduces some of the most important figures in the Theatre of the Absurd, including Eugène Ionesco, Martin Esslin and Samuel Beckett.

An introduction to Waiting for Godot

Article by:
Chris Power
Themes:
Capturing and creating the modern, 20th-century theatre, European influence

Chris Power explores how Waiting for Godot resists straightforward interpretation, producing audiences as uncertain as its characters.

An introduction to Happy Days

Article by:
William McEvoy
Themes:
Capturing and creating the modern, European influence, 20th-century theatre

The main character in Happy Days is a middle-aged woman inexplicably buried in a mound, first to her waist and then to her neck. William McEvoy discusses how Beckett uses this character and her predicament to explore a recurring interest in his work: the failings of bodies and language.

Related collection items

Related people

Related works

Happy Days

Created by: Samuel Beckett

Happy Days (1961) overview Samuel Beckett often buries his characters literally – in urns or bins – and ...