Beckett on Screen: The Television Plays by Jonathan Bignell

By Jonathan Bignell

This ground-breaking examine analyzes Beckett’s tv performs on the subject of the historical past and conception of tv. It argues that they're in discussion with cutting edge tv traditions attached to Modernism in tv, movie, radio, theatre, literature and the visible arts.

Using unique learn from BBC documents and manuscript assets, the e-book offers new views at the relationships among Beckett’s tv dramas and the broader tv tradition of england and Europe. It additionally compares and contrasts the performs for tv with Beckett’s movie and announces of his theatre paintings together with the hot Beckett on movie season. Chapters take care of the creation strategy of the performs, the broadcasting contexts within which they have been screened, associations and authorship, the performs’ relationships with related courses and movies, and response to Beckett’s display paintings by way of audiences and critics.

It can be crucial interpreting in literature and drama reports, tv historiography and for devotees of Beckett’s work.

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Product Details
Paperback: 255 pages
Publisher: 3 Rivers Press; 1st variation (April thirteen, 1989)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0517572842
ISBN-13: 978-0517572849
Product Dimensions: eight. eight x 6 x zero. 7 inches
Shipping Weight: 12. eight oz

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While this meant that Jack MacGowran would have been forced to repeat his performance if a mistake was made, the technical strictures of using videotape suited Beckett’s play rather than causing production difficulties. It is a testament to the BBC’s sense of Eh Joe’s importance that production 27 the other major problem with tape – namely the desirability of reusing it and wiping programmes made on it rather than keeping them – was avoided and the play survives to this day. This contrasts with popular mass-audience programmes of the time that were routinely wiped, such as the long-running science fiction drama Doctor Who, of which more than one hundred 25-minute episodes from the mid-1960s have been lost because their tapes were wiped and re-used.

So although the Group’s notable productions included, for example, Torrents of Spring and Mario in 1959, based loosely on short stories, their work looked anomalous both because of its experimental visual design and because of its conservative tendency to perpetuate a ‘literary’ television drama rather than a specifically televisual one. That kind of experimentation did not last long as an organised initiative, but it enabled BBC producer–directors like James MacTaggart and writers like Troy Kennedy Martin to make television plays that cut visual sequences to music scores and used montages of still images in plays in the early 1960s that contrast strongly with naturalistic forms of storytelling.

The ontology of liveness as a property of television, perhaps an essential one, is also signalled by the duration of Eh Joe’s long take, and its grainy videotape look as opposed to film’s relative luminance. Tape was used sparingly until the mid-1960s, and this has created a lasting assumption that the medium’s ‘essence’ is determined by its possibility to relay events and performances live, or to recreate an experience for the viewer that simulates a live broadcast. This essentialism is perpetuated by television’s customary broadcast of news, sports events, or national occasions at or close to the time of their occurrence, and the concomitant aim for the medium to connect with the lived temporality of the audience.

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