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Happy Days
 
 

Happy Days [Kindle Edition]

Samuel Beckett
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £6.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Product Description

Product Description

Happy Days was written in 1960 and first produced in London at the Royal Court Theatre in November 1962. WINNIE: [ . . .] Well anyway - this man Shower - or Cooker - no matter - and the woman - hand in hand - in the other hands bags - kind of big brown grips - standing there gaping at me [...] - What's she doing? he says - What's the idea? he says - stuck up to her diddies in the bleeding ground - coarse fellow - What does it mean? he says - What's it meant to mean? - and so on - lot more stuff like that - usual drivel - Do you hear me? He says - I do, she says, God help me - What do you mean, he says, God help you? (stops filing nails, raises head, gazes front.) And you, she says, what's the idea of you, she says, what are you meant to mean?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 252 KB
  • Print Length: 149 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Plays; New edition edition (20 Sep 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009NGKZKM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #249,775 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Gurjit
Format:Paperback
This play marked my introduction to Beckett. I had heard of his plays and his reputation for creating absurd, avant-garde theatre but nothing quite prepared me for this piece of writing. The play tells the story of Winnie – a lonely, desolate, compulsive talker, who is stuck (for reasons unclear) up to her waist in a mound of earth and her husband, Willie, an almost muted hermit, who remains pretty much hidden throughout the whole time.

Each day begins the same, triggered by the strident sound of a bell. Winnie then begins her routine in a very meticulous and exact way. Cleaning herself, checking her belongings, speaking aloud to Willie and herself, enduring the baking heat. This behaviour is both comic and tragic to behold, not to mention mind-bending. The play continues in this fashion, until the 2nd act, where Winnie is now buried up to her neck.

The play is largely thought to be about marriage and the title ‘Happy Days’ is very much an ironic label. Reading the play (and later seeing it at the Young Vic with Juliet Stevenson as Winnie), I found a number of themes and metaphors could be equally applied to this play. Also, considering the main character is physically stuck the whole time, there is actually a great deal of action. Indeed, Beckett’s stage directions are so frequent and so prescriptive, that Winnie’s actions are just as important as her words.

I am very pleased to have discovered Beckett and this play has now made me want to read (and see) all of his work. Happy days!

Highly recommended.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absurd 1 May 2009
Format:Paperback
Decent enough, good value for money version of Beckett's play that is a good example of 'The Theatre of the Absurd'.
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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
When this 1961 play opens, a woman is buried waist deep in a pile of sand, a large bag on her left, and a deep tunnel behind and below her on the right. The environment is treeless and bleak, and we have no idea where, why, or how the woman (Winnie) came to be in her present predicament. Throughout the first act, Winnie engages in the minutiae of her life, pulling out her glasses, a parasol, a gun, a music box, and her hat from her bag as she blathers on about brushing her teeth, and wonders if she has brushed her hair. Occasionally, she looks toward the tunnel where she addresses the absent Willie, who does not respond. When he emerges from the tunnel briefly and hums, Winnie gaily announces "Another happy day," before he disappears again.

In the second act, Winnie appears older, she has sunk into the sand so that only her head shows, and she is unable to move it. Though she is not sure Willie is alive and calls to him repeatedly, he ignores her until he suddenly emerges, dressed in tuxedo and top hat and tries to crawl upward toward Winnie. When he fails, the play ends.

In this classic example of the Theatre of the Absurd, the characters are out of sync with the world as the audience knows it, living in some universe with which we are unfamiliar. Their lives are meaningless, undirected, and irrational, yet, during the play, they somehow survive the passage of time, the lack of connection with each other, and their purposeless existence. Willie seems to be trying, futilely, to connect with Winnie at the end, but, absurdly, Winnie cannot see him and he cannot reach her.

Author Samuel Beckett once said, "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness...it's the most comical thing in the world.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars bitter end 31 May 2006
Format:Paperback
The alarm clock rings and Winnie awakes. It is the beginning of a new day. The scene is a flat landscape with Winnie in the centre. She is embedded up over her waist in the mound. Winnie is happy about every single day. Willie, her husband, lies behind her and he seldom speaks. He is reading the newspaper. Winnie is preoccupied with oneself, putting thinks out of her bag and talking to Willie.

In the second act Winnie is embedded up to the neck in the mound. Her speech is an endless flow of words. She is more melancholy as in the first act. I think Beckett wanted to show the process of getting old and cope with it. They both are two different characters, but they complete in a very special way. Remembering the past and being happy with the present is one of the pleasures of life. Happy days will end, but if not today, it will be another precious day.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.1 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happiness in small things 23 May 2000
By Mr L. Hakner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Reading through the reviews here, I am absolutely bewildered as to how anybody could find this play intolerable or (even worse) dull. I am not one of these people that adore every word that Beckett ever wrote; I have severe reservations about some of the later minimalist pieces such as 'Breathe', but 'Happy Days' is one of the most concise and fully realised portraits of the human condition in modern drama. 'Waiting for Godot' is just playful and clever; this is sublime and intellectually adept, combining the structural rigidity of 'Not I' with the fluidity of existential ideas that proliferated throughout all his work. While this is not my favourite play of his, that is entirely due to a personal preference for 'Endgame' - there is nothing tangible that really lets it down.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beckett's most usefully truthful play. 9 Feb 2001
By darragh o'donoghue - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
So often Beckett's philosophical 'universality' seems like an excuse not to confront genuine dilemmas head on. 'Happy Days' is his most tangible work, a grim portrait of a marriage, where a wife is buried up to her waist/waste in a repetitious living death, trying to avoid confronting the reality of her situation, the brutish indifference of her husband, the incremental inevitability of life only getting worse.
Winnie is Beckett's most sympathetic character because she is the one we are the most likely to meet - she is aware of the hopelessness of her situation, but what can she do? Concentrate on something else - how many of us do better? The dissatisfaction most people have with the play presumably lies with the stage directions which interrupt the monologue every couple of words, rendering a fluid, rhythmic read impossible (like Beckett was ever easy). Instead of complaining, go and see it in a theatre, where words and gesture combine to moving effect, even when the language is at its most insistently ironic and playful (and it's very funny too, but don't they always say that about Beckett?). It certainly made me ashamed of the way I treat my wife.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good as gravy 24 Sep 2012
By towercity - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's difficult for me to give an honest review of this play, one because I've never actually seen it preformed (and plays are in no way meant to be read like this, especially Happy Days with all its stage directions interrupting the lines beyond easy readability) and two because the subject matter is a bit above my head (in the sense that it seems to focus on a long marriage, something I have no personal experience with). That said, the play is enjoyable and seems to have a firm grip on what it's doing. It took me maybe a page to get past the absurdity of the whole situation, and then I was stuck in on the characters. (Seriously, all my margin notes are solely focused on the characters, nothing about meaning or anything. It draws you in.) It's definitely worth another read, or at least a viewing of the play.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Despair In Small Things. Very Funny. 24 Jan 2011
By A. Ives - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Happiness in small things? Oh well.

Anyway, this play is hilarious, and is not just about despair. At this stage of the game with Beckett, the characters can almost be read as one single character, their interactions/dialogue as mechanics of a single discursive mind. What can I say? Some people just like Beckett, and I think if you liked Endgame, you will certainly like this. I just had kind of an evil laughter about me the whole time I was reading it.

That said, this is no Waiting for Godot. By that, I only mean that Beckett was at a different point in his career here, and I think an even more brilliant one. He just really cuts to the core of things. I mean, the world really is screwed up if something like this can be written. But at the same time, isn't Beckett so much fun? He's an absolute master of language. It's interesting that somebody that studied under Joyce, a writer who used such elaborate means to develop his themes, should end up being so minimalist. Beckett is just brilliant, and though this play is not as elaborate as Endgame, it is my favorite, Endgame being my second.

Expensive for something that can be read so quick, but if you're reading this you're probably not looking for quantity anyway, and I imagine this will be one that I will just pick up and read now and again maybe once a year or so. It's that good. I don't know how seriously this was meant to be taken. I don't see it as trivial in any way. I think it is brilliant, but still have a light heart when I read this stuff. I guess there are some people who let this get them down. I seriously don't think this is about nihilism. If you want that, go to the French surrealists.

Try it out!
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Just to know that in theory you hear me, even though in fact you don't, is all I need." 13 July 2006
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When this 1961 play opens, a woman is buried waist deep in a pile of sand, a large bag on her left, and a deep tunnel behind and below her on her right. The environment is treeless and bleak, and we have no idea where the woman (Winnie) is or why and how she came to be in her present predicament. Throughout the first act, Winnie shares the minutiae of her life, pulling out her glasses, a parasol, a gun, a music box, and her hat from her bag and blathering on about brushing her teeth, while questioning if she has brushed her hair. Occasionally, she looks toward the tunnel, where she addresses an unseen "Willie," who does not respond. When he emerges from the tunnel briefly, humming, Winnie gaily announces "Another happy day," before he disappears again.

The only changes that occur in the play are the result of time--there is no plot. In the second act, Winnie appears older, she has sunk into the sand so that only her head shows, and she is unable to move it. Though she is not sure Willie is alive and calls to him repeatedly, he ignores her, until he suddenly emerges, dressed in tuxedo and top hat and tries to crawl upward toward Winnie. End of play.

In this classic example of the Theatre of the Absurd, the characters are out of sync with the world as the audience knows it, living in some universe with which we are unfamiliar. Their lives are meaningless, undirected, and irrational, yet, during the play, they somehow survive the passage of time, the lack of connection with each other, and their purposeless existence. Willie seems to be trying, futilely, to connect with Winnie at the end, but, absurdly, Winnie cannot see him and he cannot reach her.

Author Samuel Beckett once said, "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness...it's the most comical thing in the world." In that sense this is a funny play, but there were few laughs from the audience when I saw it recently. The production starred one of New England's most brilliant actresses in one of her most extraordinary performances, the lighting provided visual interest, and the direction was first-rate. Yet despite the fact that this was an audience of theatre-goers accustomed to serious drama, most of the audience was yawning by intermission, and about one-third had fallen asleep. If Beckett's intention was to show the meaninglessness of life through the monotony of this play, he succeeded brilliantly--putting the audience to sleep is the ultimate absurdity. n Mary Whipple
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