16 February 2015

Beckett’s Bodies: Affect, Disability, Performance

SAMLA 85: Durham, NC Nov 13-15, 2015
The Samuel Beckett Society, Affiliated Session
Conference of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA)
Chair/contact: Michelle Rada, Brown University

Beckett’s Bodies: Affect, Disability, Performance

This panel seeks to explore the ways in which bodies are figured and disfigured in Beckett’s work. On their own constituting an expansive “body of work,” Beckett’s prose texts, poems, plays, radio, television, and film works posit human, non-human, and inhuman bodies in different and often surprising forms. What kinds of bodies are incorporated, disembodied, or stripped bare in Beckett’s work? How can we trace the life, vulnerability, and survival of the body in single texts and across works? Are Beckettian physical and textual bodies susceptible to or immune from affect? Which bodies, metaphorical or otherwise, are excluded from consideration and care in a quite prolific archive of Beckett criticism? How does the body function and dysfunction across genre and media, prose and performance? The purpose of this panel is to provide a multidisciplinary platform for thinking about the body in Beckett’s work through emerging reading practices, which could engender new connections and ideas for such an extensively critiqued range of texts. In keeping with SAMLA’s theme for the 2015 conference, “In Concert: Literature and the Other Arts,” emphasis placed on thinking across genre, media, and theoretical approaches is encouraged, and will be a significant part of our conversation at this panel.

Possible approaches and topics may include, but are not limited to:

Queer bodies in Beckett’s work
Beckett and disability studies
Bodily capacity and its limits in performance
Affect and its embodied forms
Gendered bodies and feminist approaches to Beckett
Abject and aging bodies, dead bodies, and animal bodies
Material bodies and the life of the object
Beckett’s body of work and its sustained life in/through/as Beckett criticism
The precarious body, vulnerability, and the pains of survival
Ill-sensing: perception and the phenomenological body in Beckett
Food studies, consuming bodies, oral fixations, sucking stones
Sex and reproduction in Beckett
Adaptations of Beckett and the political, gendered, and racialized body
Dance, stage directions, choreography, and demands on the performing body

Please send a 250-300 word abstract, a brief bio, and any questions to: michelle_rada@brown.edu by June 1st, 2015.
10 February 2015

Autumn 2014 Issue of The Beckett Circle: Now Online

Inside this Issue


President's Address
Beckett Circle Editorship
Nominations: Executive Board of the Samuel Beckett Society


Inaugural Conference of the Samuel Beckett Society


Mark Nixon, 'Editing Samuel Beckett's Echo's Bones'
Peter Fifield, 'Writing with Beckett or, Inside the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project'

Theatre Reviews

Stefano Rosignoli, 'I Went to the House But Did Not Enter'
Niamh Mary Bowe, 'Fizzles'

New Releases

Book Reviews
New and Forthcoming

Not a Member? Become a Member of the Samuel Beckett Society to access issues of The Beckett Circle.
27 October 2014

Conference: Staging Beckett and Contemporary Theatre and Performance Cultures

Minghella Building, University of Reading 10-11 April 2015
Samuel Beckett. Photograph: Reg Lancaster/Getty Images
Staging Beckett and Contemporary Theatre and Performance Cultures
Minghella Building, University of Reading 10-11 April 2015
Conference Call for Papers

The Staging Beckett team is pleased to announce the project’s third and final conference, Staging Beckett and Contemporary Theatre and Performance Cultures. Building on the conversation begun at the first two events which addressed national and international performance histories and productions at the cultural ‘margins’ respectively, this conference aims to address how we can locate productions of Beckett’s theatre or the staging of any Beckett text within the wider landscape of contemporary theatre and performance in different cultural contexts. What are the legacies of productions of Beckett’s theatre or stage adaptations of other texts for contemporary theatre and performance practitioners? How can we best document and record those legacies? We are keen to hear from academics and practitioners (whether UK, Irish or international) interested in the legacies of particular performances, the documentation and analysis of Beckett in performance, and in the dialogues between Beckett’s theatre and wider theatre and performance practices and cultures. Issues to consider might be, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Recent productions of Beckett’s drama
  • The ‘Festivalisation’ of Beckett
  • ‘West End’ Beckett
  • Beckett and Contemporary Live Art / Experimental / Intermedial performance
  • Beckett and Censorship
  • International touring productions to the UK and Ireland (e.g. Robert Wilson and Peter Brook) or from the UK and Ireland (e.g. the Dublin Gate Theatre’s Beckett Festival)
  • Beckett and contemporary stage design / dramaturgy
  • Beckett, performance and the digital
  • The adaptation / appropriation of Beckett’s non-theatre texts for performance
  • Beckett and music in performance
  • Beckett’s legacies for performance
Staging Beckett is a three year collaborative research project undertaken by the universities of Chester, Reading, and the Victoria & Albert Museum which started in September 2012, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The project explores the impact of productions of Beckett’s plays on British and Irish theatre practice and cultures while also looking at how Beckett has been staged internationally, and it is compiling a database of professional productions of Beckett’s plays in the UK and Ireland which will be available in 2015.

Please send proposals of c. 300 words to p.mctighe@reading.ac.uk by December 1, 2014.

More information on Staging Beckett project events and activities can be found at http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/staging-beckett/

Staging Beckett team: Matthew McFrederick (Reading), Anna McMullan (Reading), Trish McTighe (Reading), David Pattie (Chester), Graham Saunders (Reading), David Tucker (Chester).

Reminder: Inaugural Samuel Beckett Society Conference in 2015

How to get involved
Design: Rhys Tranter
In collaboration with the Samuel Beckett Society, Arizona State University will host an international conference at the Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix, AZ on February 19th and 20th, 2015. The inaugural conference of the Samuel Beckett Society will bring together new, emerging, and established perspectives on the Nobel laureate’s writing for a sustained exchange of ideas. Distinguished Professor David Lloyd will deliver a keynote address; ASU will present a concert at the Arizona Irish Cultural Centering, featuring pieces associated with Beckett and his work; and a roundtable session will focus on Beckett and the digital humanities.

Conference Registration
We have set up an easy online registration system for the conference. Please navigate to our Reg Online site and sign up ($175 for faculty; $100 for students) at your earliest convenience.

Samuel Beckett Society Membership
All non-ASU affiliated attendees must be current members of the Samuel Beckett Society ($35 per year faculty; $20 per year students). If you are not a member, please visit the SBS Membership Page.

We have secured a discounted conference rate of $139 per night at the Clarendon Hotel. February is peak season in the Phoenix area, so please reserve your room as soon as possible. Space is limited. For more information, please visit the accommodations page of the official conference website.

Facebook Page
Like us on Facebook and receive updates regarding conference programming, meal menus, area tours, and more.

If you have any questions about the conference please contact us at beckettconference2015@gmail.com.
5 September 2014

Samuel Beckett Week 2014

University of Reading · 1-4 October 2014
A manuscript notebook of Samuel Beckett's first novel, Murphy
From the University of Reading:

We will be holding an exhibition and series of public events to celebrate the University's internationally renowned collection of manuscripts from the Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989).

Wednesday 1 - Saturday 4 October
Public Exhibition: "Samuel Beckett in London - the Murphy Notebooks". 
Museum of English Rural Life (free).
At this exhibition, which will focus on Beckett's time in London between 1934 and 1935, the University's recently acquired notebooks for Beckett's novel Murphy will be on display alongside a wide range of other material.

Thursday 2 October
Beckett Archive Workshop. 
2-4pm, Museum of English Rural Life (free). Please book in advance.
Open to all, this free two-hour workshop will introduce the University's Beckett archive to participants. It is open to any interested members of the public, but places must be booked in advance.

Friday 3 October
Public Lecture and Drinks Reception: Professor Dan Gunn - "Samuel Beckett Through his Letters".
5.30pm, Minghella Building, Whiteknights Campus (free). Please book in advance.
Dan Gunn is Professor of Comparative Literature and English at the American University of Paris, and editor of the Letters of Samuel Beckett.

Saturday 4 October
The Beckett International Foundation Annual Research Seminar 2014. 
10am, Museum of English Rural Life (£20 waged, £15 unwaged). Includes lunch and refreshments. Please book in advance.
This day-long advanced seminar will explore some of the latest research in Beckett Studies.

For further details and booking please contact:
Workshop and/or Lecture: Conor Carville - c.carville@reading.ac.uk
BIF Seminar: Mark Nixon - m.nixon@reading.ac.uk

Find Samuel Beckett on Amazon: US | UK

Also at A Piece of Monologue:

John Haynes' Photography

New website showcases Beckett, Pinter and the London stage
Samuel Beckett. Photograph: John Haynes
Harold Pinter. Photograph: John Haynes
Billie Whitelaw and Samuel Beckett. Photograph: John Haynes
Billie Whitelaw and Samuel Beckett. Photograph: John Haynes
Photographer John Haynes has a new-look website, offering a wealth of rare historical images from the London stage, and much else besides [Read More]
25 August 2014

Julie Campbell

A call for contributions
All at the Samuel Beckett Society were deeply saddened by the news of Julie Campbell's death. We invite the many who knew her to contribute their memories to the forthcoming issue of The Beckett Circle.

All reflections are very welcome, and should be sent to samuelbeckettsociety@gmail.com before 20 September.
28 July 2014

Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival 2014

Online brochure now available

Download this year's brochure.

BBC Radio 3: The Essay

Broadcasting from this year's Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival

Join BBC Radio 3 at the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, where we'll be exploring the life and work of the Irish literary great, Samuel Beckett. Five authors will be on stage to deliver reflections on Beckett's personality, the themes he explored in his plays, like Waiting for Godot, and the continuing impact of his now-famous work. Those taking part are drawn from the worlds of theatre, journalism, music, photography and literature, and the five talks will be recorded for broadcast on Radio 3's The Essay. Each recording will last approximately 60 minutes, with a chance for questions and discussion.

Essay 1 - Actor, Lisa Dwan, talks about performing Beckett and her encounters with some of the actors most closely associated with his work, including Billie Whitelaw and Barry McGovern.
Essay 2 - Journalist and commentator, Fintan O'Toole, reflects on themes of mortality and death in Samuel Beckett's work.
Essay 3 - Opera director, Netia Jones, explores the relationship between words and music, drawing on Samuel Beckett's play of the same title.
Essay 4 - Beckett expert, Dr Mark Nixon, talks about editing Echo's Bones, the Beckett short story recently published 80 years after it was written.
Essay 5 - Photographer, John Minihan, remembers the time he spent with Samuel Beckett while taking some of the best known portraits of the often reluctant subject.

All information is correct at time of publication. [Read More]

Staging Beckett at the Margins: University of Chester

A new conference website has just been launched

Find out more: http://www.chester.ac.uk/staging-beckett