An exploration of the process of creation of a modern absurdist play, which integrates and reflects existential though on contemporary issues
I would firstly like to acknowledge and thank my dissertation supervisor Dr Sreenath Nair, for his support and guidance.
I give regards to my housemate, cousin and best friend Victoria Clements, whom I have shared my university experience with. She helped me with motivation, concentration and even procrastination, which increased my morale. I also owe some thanks to my two other housemates Elli Andersen and Kayleigh Playford for their aid in procrastination.
I would like to thank all my family, though more specifically, my mother Christine, for not forcing me to pay rent when living at home during university holiday time between semesters. My grandfather who influenced my appreciation for whisky which also helped my study.
I would finally like to acknowledge two Hollywood names. First Jim Carrey, whose stand up comedy, hilarious films and physical humour assisted the creation of my character Bob. Lastly I would like to thank music composer Howard Shore, for his creation of the film score to Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which gave assistance my process of writing.
Godot Waiting for Godot
R&GAD Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late! Let us represent worthily for once the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us! What do you say?... Is it true that when with folded arms we weigh the pros and cons we are no less a credit to our species. The tiger bounds to the help of his congeners without the least reflection, or else he slinks away into the depths of the thickets. But that is not the question. What are we doing here, that is the question.
(Beckett, 1956; 79-80)
IT IS DUSK, AND SOMEWHAT DARK ON AN URBAN STREET. ON STAGE YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE THREE STREET LAMPS LIT UP, A PHONE BOX AND A BENCH. THERE IS COLOURFUL GRAFFITI SCRAWLED ACROSS MANY OF THE WALLS AND LITTER (RANGING FROM EMPTY PIZZA BOXES, MAGAZINES AND CONDOMS) SCATTERED OVER THE FLOOR. EVERY FEW SECONDS THERE ARE FAINT SOUNDS OF CARS, SIRENS AND HORNS. A MAN IS SLEEPING ON THE BENCH.
Three separate lights shine straight down acting as street lights. A public pay phone placed stage right, is also lit up. There is a self-changing poster display in between the stage right and centre stage street lamp, and a wooden bench in between the centre stage and stage left lamp. In the poster display there is a large poster of a man's face.
Bob is a man in his late 30s/early 40s. He is clean shaven and has matted hair and wears dirty navy jeans, torn in several places. Bob has a stained maroon chequered jacket, which has an old embroidered tag on the left breast saying ‘BOB' and is also wearing a pair of black fingerless gloves.
BOB: (Pretending to be asleep) Bob. Will you please… (opens eyes) SHUT THE FUCK UP!!
Closes eyes and tries to get back to sleep, wiggling and changing position on the bench.
BOB: Arrgh. (Sits up) Bollocks to ye'. Inconsiderate bastard. (Mumbling) Wake me up… I'll wake you up… don't wanna wake up…
Stands up, yawns, stretches out and scratches chin. A black bag of waste is thrown onto stage left.
BOB: BREAAAAAAAAAAAAK FAST!
Runs to the bag and searches it.
BOB: Ooo bananas… chicken…gum! (Puts it in his mouth, then spits it out) No flavour left… Aha! MEAT loaf! Here you go Bob.
Throws a chunk of meat loaf to the bench and starts eating some himself.
BOB: And why are you not eating? Do you not like my cooking? ... I didn't put any god damn nuts in it! … So this is how it's gonna be is it? I slave in a hot kitchen for you all day, and this is the thanks I get?
Whimpers with tears in his eyes.
Bob walks over to the bench and picks up meat loaf.
BOB: Well, then I'll just eat this, too!
A STREET LAMP FLICKERS WHILE THERE IS A
MOMENT OF SILENCE. BOB EATS THE MEAT LOAF AND THEN WIPES HIS HANDS ON HIS JEANS.
BOB: What are our plans for today then? … We could… go down the supermarket and cause a scene? … Over a family pack of condoms being too damn expensive? … Okay. Yeah, maybe the third time this week wouldn't be as much fun… Stands still for several seconds, deep in thought.
BOB: I've got it! Wanna trek over to the skate park and throw rocks and sticks at the
skaters, then run away before they can catch us?...
Paces in front of the bench.
BOB: WELL AT LEAST I'M TRYING TO THINK OF SOMETHING!!
Paces a few more steps.
BOB: YOOUUUU! ARE DOING NOTHING BUT STARE AT MEEE!!
Kicks the rubbish bag.
BOB: FINE! (Sarcastically) We'll just sit here are wait for inspiration! (Sits) It's not like
we have much else to do… Or do we… Do we have something to do?... But that is not the question… What are we doing here, Bob?... MEH, I can think of that later! I always do! … Did you ever have a family, Bob? Wife? Kids?... Yeah, me neither… but there was this one time (Chuckles) I followed this woman for nearly two weeks! Ha ha… So she was kinda like my wife…Nah, she clicked on that I was following her… I nearly saw her naked one time though! But she spotted me looking through her bathroom window… C'est la vie. (Smugly) That's French you know… Umm, no you don't!... That's a lie! You just lied!... (Stands Up) Uh! YOU LIAR! … No I'm NOT over reacting! You're under reacting!… What has my beard got to do with anything?! You're jealous!... GO TO HELL! Freaking moron… I'm not talking to you anymore!
BOB: No I'm not…
BOB: Nah uh.
BOB: Okay okay. I'm sorry, alright?
A young businessman wearing a black suit and bowler hat enters from stage right,
carrying a small briefcase.
BOB: (Trying to stop the businessman) Excuse me sir, could you spare some change
MAN: Sorry, I don't have any.
BOB: (Slightly angry) Yeah that's what they all say…
MAN: Piss off you homeless tramp.
Exit stage left.
BOB: COCK!! (To Bob) I prefer locationally challenged… Thanks for the support there!
Real nice of you to stand up for me… He was talking about you, too, ya know!...
There you go again, bitching about my beard!! WELL AT LEAST I HAVE ONE!
Yeah! You've got nothing to say back to that have you!!
Bob gasps loudly.
BOB: (Hurt) HOW DARE YOU!! After everything I've done for you?! … SHUT UP!!
Bob puts his hands up to his ears.
BOB: SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!
Bob runs around in circles kicking the air with his legs in a dramatic fashion.
BOB: LA LA LA LA LA LA I'M NOT LISTENING LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA
(Shouting very loudly) LAAAAAAAAA!!!
Bob stops still and stares blankly into the audience.
BOB: Why do you hate me?... I try to do you good. I find you food and clothes and
shelter. I stick up for you when bastards like that businessman call us names… but I don't feel appreciated. I can go if you want me to. There are around 34 kajillion other benches I can go live on…(Wipes tear from his eye) No, I don't want to, but you're making me… Okay, I'm gonna stay. But only until he comes back. If you say anything about my beard again, I won't hold back...
Slowly walks back to the bench and perches on the end.
BOB: So… Any more ideas of what we can do today?... Yeah, that's a great idea!...
Condom family packs are actually all about not having a family! Ha ha… Freaking contradiction… and they're expensive too…You know what's also crap? Eggs. Do you know how much they cost?? For something that gets shitted out of a chicken's arse, I don't get why they cost so much! I'm sure no one would pay two quid for a box of my shit! Ha ha… ha…
BOB: (Suddenly) I need to make a phone call.
Bob stands up, looks left, then right and taking single, slow and large strides, walks towards the public pay phone. Picks up the phone and holds it to his ear. Then turns his head to face the audience and then turns back round and dials a number.
BOB: Hello?... 10 Downing Street please… Yeah… (To Bob) What do you want?...
(Back to the phone) Yeah, I want a large pepperoni…. (Aside) SHUSH BOB!... (Sotto) Fuck a duck… Hello?...
Turns back around with a confused look on his face.
BOB: They hung up.
Walks offstage and returns a few seconds later with a large stick, which he uses to
hit the phone box several times, knocking the phone off the hook. Then dropping the stick, he picks up the phone and redials facing the audience.
BOB: Hi, it's me, Bob… How are you?... I, um, I'm doing really well… Yeah, in fact,
I'm completely overbooked until May next year… (Smugly) Well obviously I attacked the gap in the market for neutering llamas at just the right time… (Aside) Not now Bob… Bob wants to know when his pizza is coming?... Erm, yeah sure. I can hold…
He grabs hold of his crotch.
BOB: (To Bob) What the hell's he want me to do this for??
Bob bops up and down for a few seconds, as if listening to music.
BOB: WHAT??... Well you weren't an Indian takeaway when I spoke to you 2 minutes
ago!... Well if you don't bring my pepperoni pizza, WHICH I've paid for, then
I'm gonna come over to your shop, with my friend Bob, and we'll have weapons!
And we'll kick your ugly little a… (Slight ‘uh' noise of disgust)
BOB FLIPS OUT IN RAGE KICKING AND DESTROYING THE PHONE BOX, SCREAMING OBSCENITIES AT IT. EVERYTIME HE DOES, A VERY LOUD CAR HORN CAN BE HEARD, WHICH COVERS HIS SWEARING.
SEVERAL PEOPLE WALK PAST WHILE HE DOES THIS, ALL OF WHOM TAKE NO NOTICE OF WHAT BOB IS DOING, OR EVEN ACTING AS IF HE EXISTS. BOB COMES TO A HALT AFTER A MOMENT OF SWEARING AND GOING CRAZY.
BOB: (Standing calmly) Don't think the pizza's coming, you know. Just have to stick
with the meatloaf won't you!... It could be worse you know! Least we've still got our legs, ‘ey Bob! And my beard! (Strokes his chin) Do you think I should shave it off? I'm not sure I want to part with it…But I always get food stuck in it… Maybe you're right! Or maybe you want me to think you're right?! Or maybe you
want me to think that I think you're right. Or even maybe you want me to think
that I think that you think that I think you're right. I think I'll ask Barry what he
thinks about that!
Bob pulls out a sock puppet from his trouser pocket and puts it on his hand.
BOB: (In an unusually high pitched voice) I don't think you should shave your beard, it
makes you look sexy and young and don't forget the ladies love it too.
(In his normal voice) Well there we have it. Maybe I'll keep my beard after all.
Coz I do look rather hot… Thanks Bob. If I also were homosexual, and if I wasn't
me, I would go out with me too. And you never know, if I get locked in a tower, I
might need it for a gorgeous princess to climb up it and save me!... IT COULD
HAPPEN! Anyway Barry, it's your bed time. (High pitched voice) Goodnight
Bob pulls the sock puppet off from his hand and puts it back in his pocket.
BOB: You know what, Bob? I love you, man. You're a true friend. Not even the cool
George Clooney is as cool a friend as you. Well… maybe a bit. But only on Saturdays… Without you, Bob, I'd be lost. Like a little flea… in a big flea city… with lots of other tiny little fleas. You keep me sane, in a world full of crazy fuckers. (Walks forward a few steps) If I didn't have you Bob… I think I'd go crazy…
The poster of ‘Bob' revolves upward, revealing a completely different poster in
IT IS THE EARLY HOURS OF THE NEXT MORNING. THE SUN IS A SHORT WHILE AWAY FROM DAWNING. THE ENTIRE ‘STREET LAMP' LIGHTS ARE LIT UP, REVEALING THE SMASHED UP PHONE BOX AND THE BENCH UPON WHICH BOB IS SLUMPED ON. A BOTTLE WRAPPED IN A BROWN PAPER BAG CAN BE SEEN SITTING ON THE END OF THE BENCH ADJACENT TO BOB.
AS THE LIGHTS ARE BROUGHT UP, THE LIGHT PLACED STAGE RIGHT TURNS OFF AFTER SEVERAL SECONDS. THE POSTER DISPLAY IS SHOWING THE POSTER SUBSEQUENT TO THE PREDOMINANT POSTER IN THE FIRST ACT.
Bob notices the light ‘street lamp' has turned off, and staggeringly gets up off from the bench; he appears to be intoxicated.
BOB: Heeey! (To the now unlit ‘street lamp') Hey you! Oi! Come back! Come…
Cooee? Miss light fairy? Don't you leave me too!?
Bob bends down and picks up some thing by his feet. He then throws it up towards the unlit ‘street lamp'. .
Bob bends down and picks up another and throws it once more.
There is a loud ‘thwack' heard.
BOB: HA! Wish you'd come back now don't ya! (Smugly) So that's fifty points to
myself, (grandly) and one hundred points to NOBODY ELSE!
Bob imitates doing the Hula as a victory dance for several seconds.
BOB: (Sighs) Well…
Walks back to the bench and sits down. Bob turns his head and stares at the bottle wrapped in the brown bag.
BOB: I… Have had enough of (hiccups) you…
Bob picks up the bottle and tosses it behind himself at the wall.
A tall and slender man enters from stage right. He has very dark brown/black straight hair combed with a side parting. He is wearing a pair of black trousers and a turquoise v-necked t-shirt underneath a black bomber style jacket.
Bob remains completely oblivious this man has come onstage.
The tall man walks behind the bench and picks up the bottle wrapped in the brown paper bag.
Bob lets out a high pitched shriek of fright and rolls falling off the bench.
BOB: What the hell!... Oh, it's you. Hello Judas.
Bob gets up.
JUDE: What are you doing throwing away your cough medicine Robert?
Jude takes out the cough medicine from the brown paper bag which Bob discarded.
BOB: I've told you my name is Bob! And I don't want to discuss anymore with you…
JUDE: We don't have to discuss anything. I can just sit here. Sit here and listen to you if
you prefer? Or I don't even have to listen to you (walks over by the smashed up phone box). I could ignore you like everybody else in the world does. (Turns to Bob) Would you rather that?
BOB: I would… rather you give me back my COUGH medicine!
Jude stares blankly at Bob.
BOB: GIVE IT BACK!
JUDE: You can have it back. Come and get it.
Bob slides down to the end of the bench and gestures his outstretched hand to grab.
JUDE: Just come here and take it.
Bob stands up, takes a couple of steps towards Jude, has a quick glance back at the bench, then takes the last steps.
JUDE: There you go.
Jude gives the cough medicine back to Bob. Bob turns around quickly and walks back to the bench, where he puts the cough medicine underneath where he was sitting.
BOB: You can go now.
JUDE: Not just yet. But you can leave, if you don't like my company?
BOB: Maybe I will! (Pause)
JUDE: Well? Will you?
BOB: (Forgotten what they were talking about) Will I?
JUDE: Will you?
BOB: I Will?
JUDE: You will?
BOB: Will you?
JUDE: I already did. Stop procrastinating against the inevitable. You're going to have to
leave eventually. Whether it be by your will or not.
BOB: I can play the penny whistle you know. Though some call it the ‘tin whistle'.
Would you like to hear a little jig?
JUDE: You can't do it, can you? Leave the bench behind? Physically, you can't do it?
BOB: (Apathetically) Why is it so hard?
JUDE: To cut the clutches and threads of that which ties us down to the failures in life?
Because something within your mind convinces you that there is some form of hope attached to that, which you are tied too. It coerces you to hold on tighter. You need to decide whether your will is strong enough to let you survive.
BOB: Well I did used to be a very successful heavy weight boxer. Wouldn't think of it to look at me though… But my will is strong thank you very much. What must I do?
JUDE: Leave. Here. Leave this bench. Desert that which you have not wanted to part with for so long.
BOB: Okay. Right. Yeah, I can do this. I'm going to leave… and become a man.
Bob walks around the bench, jogs on the spot for several seconds and then starts stretching out his muscles.
BOB: Right. I, um… I'm a little scared to tell you the truth. But if I'm not back, in 5 minutes… then just wait longer okay?
Bob turns around and takes a slow step towards stage left. Then another and another until he reaches the edge of the stage.
BOB: Farewell, fair cruelty!
Jude takes a seat upon the bench and takes his time examining the surroundings with his eyes. Then pulls up the sleeve on his left arm to reveal a watch, which he takes a lengthy glance.
Bob re-enters running in from stage right, towards the bench.
BOB: I CAN'T DO IT. (High pitched panting) I WON'T DO IT!! I can't leave.
Bob hugs the bench.
JUDE: (With a bewildered look) There, there Bob. There, there. (Pause) Didn't think you'd turn out like this when you were younger. What was your childhood dream
BOB: Childhood dream… Isn't that some sort of pudding?! Sounds like it…
JUDE: No, Bob, what was your ambition, goal, dream job when you were younger?
BOB: I think I wanted to teach. My Pa was a teacher. Very well respected you know.
Most famous rabbi around for 50 miles! But I don't think I wanted to do exactly what he did. I didn't really get on with his friend David when I was younger see, and it turns out, he has his own star!! Who'd have guessed!
JUDE: What would you have liked to teach then?
BOB: Well I've been told my rugged appearance and exclusively tailored clothing resemble that of a history teacher!
JUDE: Really. Care to give me a lecture?
Bob stands at the end of the bench and coughs to clear his throat.
BOB: Good morning and welcome class. Today we're going to talk about war. One raging question has stood hidden before mankind through the vastness of time; is it the circus that brings out the worst in clowns, or is it the worst in clowns that bring on the circus? Or perhaps I mean men… you know… in the war… I forget the point, but that's neither here nor there. The truth is always simple, but is definitely not pure…
JUDE: (To the audience) … Unless we talk about quantum physics…
BOB: … Or is it always pure and never simple? Or neither? Indulgence into the fantasies of greed and lust changes the manifestation of men and results in the
JUDE: Unless these fantasies ARE the manifestations of men. Estimated outcomes can alter.
BOB: But I believe these outcomes are already mapped out…
JUDE: Not too sure where you left that map though are you Bob?
BOB: (Deep in thought) No… (Long pause)
THE POSTER DISPLAY REVOLVES AGAIN AND REVEALS THE FAMILIAR PICTURE OF ‘BOB'.
BOB: (In hysterics) OOO! BOB!! BOB!! WOO! It's about time you came back! I almost thought you were gone forever!! Ahhh… All is right with the world now. Oh wait, no it's not… Where did my dog go?
BOB: Yeah my Dog. I think.
JUDE: Fortunately for you, I don't know.
BOB: (Walks around the bench looking) But he was here a second ago wasn't he??
JUDE: Was he?
BOB: Yeah! A second ago… I think.
JUDE: Define second?
BOB: Well there's some smelly brown pile of substance over there so he can't be too far.
JUDE: Yes, he does tend to leave that among the earth…
BOB: Huh? What did you say?
JUDE: I said… dogs… tend to do that.
Bob gives a suspicious glance at Jude.
JUDE: Would you like to partake in some merriment Bob?
BOB: (Looks at the poster display) That depends on whether my special friend can join in too.
JUDE: Your specious friend can watch us play.
BOB: Well, I don't know, I can't abandon him.
JUDE: But you do not abandon him… (With sadistic tone) he abandons you.
BOB: (Shocked) SHHHHH! What do you want?
JUDE: Let's just play a little game.
Jude stands up and very smoothly takes off his jacket, folds it and places on the back of the bench.
Jude walks towards Bob, who places one foot back in slight fear and anticipation. Jude pulls out a blind fold from his pocket and puts his hands us to tie it around Bob's head.
BOB: I'm not stupid! The minute you blindfold me you're going to steal my purse!!
JUDE: Bob. Do you even own a purse?
BOB: Yes I do!! No, um, wait I think I left it at that wildlife park where I travelled to
last year… Or was it a school? I can't remember any of the teachers, so I don't think it was a school. Or at least I don't know what I've learnt if it was. And anyway I don't want you to practise your sodomy on me sir! NO, THANK YOU!
JUDE: (Humouring him) Okay Bob, I'll leave sodomy at the door…
BOB: By the backdoor if you don't mind…
Jude continues with the blind fold and places it around Bob's head.
Jude walks in front of Bob, slightly to his left side and slaps Bob's left cheek with the palm of his right hand.
Bob does nothing.
Jude walks in a circle and stops again in front of Bob, slightly on his right side, and slaps Bob's right cheek with the back of his right hand.
Bob does nothing.
Jude then takes the blindfold off from Bob.
JUDE: You've been letting everyone you meet do that to you. Not physically, but in every other sense.
Jude walks over to the bench, picks up his jacket and puts it on.
JUDE: Man cannot change… You cannot change. Not what is in your nature.
Jude walks up to Bob and kisses him on the cheek.
BOB: Bob… What are you doing? (In a slightly deeper tone of voice and a rather vacant expression) I'm doing nothing Bob. Because you do not want me to do anything. You don't want me to drag you up alongside the hordes of the inconsiderable and miserable lost souls, just to be dragged down and made even more miserable. You'd rather listen to the delusive voices. And not speak to the ones that are really there. Because the reality is harsh. Harsher than you care to imagine. And almost nobody seems to share your view. You cannot bring yourself to leave this bench because it is so hard, to cut the bonds of the failures in life to which you may still think there is hope, when there is not. You're so rejected and isolated from society, you're forced to seek out these factitious voices, which you so desperately cling, to obliterate your loneliness. So you sit on the sidelines, sharing and arguing your thoughts with your shadows, which in turn become the window into your life. But that window is somewhat small, and lets in little light. If people were able to communicate freely, selflessly and more forthrightly, there would be less hatred, inequality and confusion amongst men. Or, perhaps so in an ideal world… This is not an ideal world however. Far from it. So you will be allowed to sit there. You will be allowed to be passed by and ignored by the world and souls which surround you. And whence you die, nothing shall come of it; your dust will blow away like leaves in the wind. As they say; Ignorance… is bliss.
Bob begins to weep quietly and drops to the floor, first onto his knees, then onto his bottom. He looks around himself and starts crawling backwards towards his bench. When he reaches it, his weeping diminishes and he curls up underneath it, in the foetal position.
IT IS THE SAME DAY AT DUSK. THE STREET LAMP CENTRE STAGE IS LIT UP, BUT THE LAMP STAGE LEFT AND STAGE RIGHT IS TURNED OFF. FAINT CITY SOUNDS CAN BE HEARD; CAR ENGINES AND HORNS, PEOPLE ETC.
Bob is lying down on his side on the bench, facing the audience. His eyes are wide open.
BOB: Bob? BOB!? Are you awake? Me too. The squirrels are too noisy here...
Bob sits up, hugs his legs and then stretches his arms. He tries to stand, but finds himself unable to do so. He opens his mouth, then closes it again. He bangs his fist upon the bench and stands up. Bob flails his arms and stretches out.
BOB: (Yawning) Oh shut up about them god damn squirrels BOB! They've already told
me you're bloody nuts… (Bob chuckles to himself)… (In a completely serious tone) Oh wait, they might have actually said, that you stole their bloody nuts? Pfft. Either way they don't like you Bob!!
A short, balding and rather plump man takes two steps onto stage left holding a black bag of waste. He pauses for a few seconds and stares at Bob.
Bob opens his mouth and hisses like a cat. The man, scared, drops the waste bag and exits stage left.
BOB: Lets have a look and see what's on the menu shall we my dear Bob?
Bob creeps over to the bag and opens it up.
BOB: Eugh… eugh … EUGH!! Arrr, why don't people ever give me ingredients I can work with! Like a nice sirloin steak. Mmmm. You like that don't you Bob?...
Well of course I'd make some nice golden chips to go with it!... Oh no no wait! I'm not cooking the steak again! You told me last time you like it well done, so that's what I did for you and you never stopped complaining!... What do you mean it was too tough?! Sharpen your teeth then!
Bob continues to search through the bag again.
BOB: Ah! Here we go! A couple of nice… ripe… bananas!
Bob pulls out two incredibly blackened bananas.
BOB: Here you go my friend! (Throws one of the bananas over by the bench) Enjoy!
It's a good source of potassium you know. (Peeling the banana) Without bananas in the diet we'd be prone to… um… a lack of potassium… Oh BOB, can you please eat your banana!! I'm not really asking much am I? I'm purely looking out for your well being… Don't give me that crap! You've always told me you love bananas and that if in the afterlife you had to turn into a vegetable you'd be a banana… Oh yes you did! You told me you hate being lonely and that you'd enjoy being a banana because they hang in bunches!!
Bob stares at the banana, takes a bite, then throws it over by the wall behind him.
BOB: Oh! Hey Bob listen to this! (Clears throat) What did the banana say to the
pineapple? Nothing! Because banana's can't speak!! Ha ha ha!!... yep… I am a comedy genius thanks Bob. (Walks over to the bench and sits down) So, we're going to have to decide what to do today, because hey, surprise - we have no plans… So… we could… try and get on the underground without paying, and shout BOMB in the middle of a crowded place and see how long it takes for security to tackle us to the ground?! That could be interesting… Fine, but I don't mind the pepper spray… It tastes nice on my steak…
Bob stands up again, and paces a couple of times.
BOB: Oh oh oh! I know what we could do! How does this take your fancy; (proclaiming)
we will take a trip, to the supermarket, then find out how much a packet of condoms are! I've heard they're expensive… WHY DO YOU ALWAYS CRITICIZE ME!! You never ever come up with any ideas!
Bob sits back down on the end of the bench and puts his head in his hands.
BOB: I'm always the one to think of our plans… You can never remember what it is
we're supposed to do!... Sometimes I think that you just don't want to spend time with me… (Whimpers a little) That's fine if you don't! But stop complaining about my beard; it has nothing to do with our friendship.
The same young businessman from ACT I, enters from stage right, carrying a noticeably larger briefcase, and now wearing a long black coat. Bob watches him as he walks past, and puts his hand up while opening his mouth, but says nothing.
Exit businessman stage left.
BOB: No Bob! If I ask him for change he'll only tell me that I should be hanging around
a phone box. You should have asked him for some anyway!... DON'T start that again... It's not just me in this partnership you know! It takes two to tango! Or, in our case foxtrot… or waltz? Same difference.
Bob stands up and walks around the bench.
BOB: Right, well we can think of what we'll do later…
Sits down on the floor in front of the bench.
BOB: Can you remember that young fat boy who used to walk by us everyday? He
always wore that green baseball hat?... Yeah he was very chunky! Ha ha… can you remember when he thought it would be incredibly funny to throw stones at us? Well, he didn't find it funny when we chased him half a mile with a broken glass bottle! Ha! I've never seen a fat person run so fast! Well that stopped him calling us crazy at least… He didn't not never make fun of my beard!! (Stands up) HERE we go again with the jealousy!!... Just because you want my luscious chin carpet!
Bob starts pacing again, but a little faster.
Bob stops, walks over to the smashed up phone box, and picks up the receiver. He holds it to his ear for a second, then uses it to bash the phone box a couple of times.
BOB: Hey Bob; do have a phone on you by any chance? This one's been vandalised
AGAIN! (Mumbles) Bloody punk kids I tell you… Oh… but I needed to make a
call... Oh well I imagine it'll be fixed by tomorrow… BOB? You're not talking to me now is it? Well two can play that game!
Bob paces again. Then suddenly stops and with a large sharp movement of right his arm slaps his mouth with his right hand and then again with his left and begins screaming into his hands while jumping in the air very energetically. After several jumps he begins jumping less and his muffled screams become quieter, until he stops screaming and jumping and is just stood still.
BOB: Bob… lets not throw this away. What we've got is special. Very, very special.
And if my beard really is a problem then, I suppose, I can get rid of it and shave it off.… Okay. Let's ask Barry. We haven't seen him in a while.
Bob puts his hand into his pocket and pulls out a sock, which he places on his hand.
BOB: (In an unusually high pitched voice) Hi kids! I've already told you the answer to
the question. The answer is yes and sometimes no, but sometimes yes and never no. Equally it could be never yes and always no.
(In normal voice) Great. Thanks a lot Barry, that helps… Yes Bob! I will be keeping my beard, but we can discuss how you can grow one later, and after you've bought some fertilizer… Anyway, once again it is getting late, and it's time for Barry to go to bed. Goodnight Barry! (High pitched voice) Goodnight
Bob pulls the sock puppet off from his hand and puts it back in his pocket.
BOB: Well Bob. What do you say to a nice game of ‘I Spy'? … Oh yes indeed, there is
nothing better than good company and good friends. You do well as both. We have our ups and downs Bob, but you're my best friend. And you're a damn good one. Loyal too… If we didn't have each other, we'd have nobody, apart from Barry of course, but his parents are very strict and don't let him out to play for long… We'll be friends forever.
The poster of ‘Bob' revolves upwards, revealing the other poster in its place.
BOB: Bob? BOB!! GET BACK HERE NOW!... You'll come back… YOU'LL
COME CRAWLING BACK!!
The concern of this project/dissertation was that of exploration. That is, the exploration of a concoction of several theatrical and intertextual elements in terms of my created work. My original thesis and idea for my independent study continually changed and developed chiefly through the first half of the study itself. The roots of my project idea began in the unit I studied in my second year called “Writing and Devising”, in which I wrote a small play, designed to be a comedy sketch with various influences. My enjoyment of this unit, and even more so of the influences from this original script, propelled my area of study. Two of my main influences, came ‘intertextually' from Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The prevalent concepts within these two plays are theatrical absurdism and existentialism. Expanding on this play became a means of absurdist and existentialist exploration, which is where two considerable areas of my interest lay. Thus the primary core of my study has been an exploration of the process of writing modern absurdist and existentialist comedy.
Another root of influence for my work came from the correlative patterns that can be observed between Beckett and Stoppard's works. Some critics have pointed out major similarities and have been dismissive over “Stoppard's writing as completely imitative of Beckett's” (Cahn, 1979, p.36). Stoppard's play follows a similar irrational structure and contains the same absurd conventions, as well as having two diametrically similar protagonists. However obvious similarities, there are differences. It can be looked upon that the correlations and dissimilarities between Godot and R&GAD, actually make the latter author's work, almost sequential to Godot. A further part of my study includes investigation into some of the correlative and dissimilar concepts within these two plays, and the utilization of them for use within my expanded play.
Thus the aims and purpose of my project were to create a modern and intertextually influenced absurdist play, which integrates and reflects issues of (my) existential thought on the contemporary issues in modern day life and the human condition within the western context of the world. Of course my works is open to personal interpretation and criticism, as is all writing. Martin Esslin discusses absurdist drama being personal to the writer, as each author is “an individual… has his own personal approach… his own roots, sources and background.” (1961, p.22). Whence my writing began for my original script I already knew the truth in this, as I found elements of my own personal comedy integrated within the dialogue. As well as this I received influence from Hollywood physical actor and comedian Jim Carrey, of whom a large part of Bob is based via Carrey's physical acting style.
Major Influences of my Work
In order to understand the main influences of my study, we must understand the nature of these influences. Beckett's Waiting for Godot has ‘intertextually' influenced many playwrights and plays since it was written, including Stoppard's R&GAD. The term ‘intertextuality' was coined by Julia Kristeva. In her book Desire in Language; A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art, she describes intertextuality as involving “the components of a textual system such as the novel… the transposition of one or more systems of signs into another, accompanied by a new articulation of the enunciative and denotative position” (1980, p.15). Intertextuality involves the semiotics of language systems. “Saussure emphasized that language is a system which pre-exists the individual speaker” (Daniel Chandler, 2003) and according to Kristeva the semiotic is a pre-linguistic notion or “disposition within the body of instinctual drives… as they affect language and its practise” (1980, p.18). So the language that we speak and use is already a linguistic system that has been utilized by all writers. Daniel Chandler writes “text is a tissue of quotations” (2003). So the text we read in a play has many intertextual influences that we have learnt of through semiotic practises such as reading other texts. When applied to my project, in the same way in which R&GAD takes an intertextual influence from Godot, my work will similarly be intertextually influenced by both of these texts.
Waiting for Godot
Samuel Beckett is one of the most majorly influential writers of theatre in the twentieth century and was involved in the absurdist theatre movement. He broke free from the conventions of mainstream theatre and chose exploration through his plays. Waiting for Godot was first published within the United Kingdom in 1956, and since its first production was staged it has received mixed reviews. Nevertheless today it remains as one of the most important plays from the absurdist theatre movement and Beckett is “generally regarded as one of the finest artists of the twentieth century” (Pattie, 2000, p.1). Beckett was heavily concerned with the ambiguous nature of human existence (and its consequence of death) within the world, as were all the writers from the Theatre of the absurd movement. This shone through much of his work especially in Godot. However in spite of this, Beckett's “intention throughout [Godot] is comic” (Fletcher, 2003, p.22), and he seeks to highlight the human condition and existence through comedy; allowing the audience or reader to laugh at the ambiguity of their existence.
Waiting for Godot cannot be easily summarised, though critic Vivian Mercier famously said it is a play in which, paradoxically, “nothing happens, twice” (qtd in Taylor-Batty, 2008, p.3). If nothing happened within Godot, it certainly did happen twice. To most that view or read Beckett's play, on the surface it can be assumed that nothing really happens as there is no real plot or story. However the action within the play is not that of an epic tale or romantic affair but a representation of the (small) pointless actions and events of everyday life. Therefore conveying the notion that “nothing ever really happens in a man's existence” (Esslin, 1961, p.403). Within these pointless tasks Beckett “employs slapstick, word play and farcical situations” (Coots, 2001, p.27) and the repetition of which emphasizes that ‘nothing' does not happen within the play, twice. There are several concepts, ideals and devices within Godot which influenced my work, of which I shall go into detail later.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Tom Stoppard shares similarity with Beckett in terms of his linguistic complexity but also their “preoccupations with memory, uncertainty… [and] the sense of human consequence” (Kelly, 2001, p.10), which can be seen in Stoppard's early work, such as Enter a Free Man, and of course, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Stoppard wrote R&GAD several years after Godot; its first publication being in 1967, written on the very cusp of the ends of the absurdist movement. However it is clear to see that Godot was of massive influence to him in his writing. When looking at R&GAD and Godot, one cannot ignore the obvious similarities. Both share the same use of witty dialogue, unconventional structure and a comic pair of protagonists who reflect on their memory (or lack of it) and time, and of the situations of life and death. The story of R&GAD is derived from Shakespeare and “takes place at the periphery of Hamlet” (Hunter, 2005, p.61) thus knowledge of Shakespeare allows the understanding of the story from the audience.
Some critics have “dismissed Stoppard's writing as completely imitative of Beckett's” (1979, p.36), but to do so would be to ignore some major differences within the text also inclusive of the notion that R&GAD is in part, perhaps, an unofficial sequel (or prequel?) to Godot. The main difference between these to text is that of context in terms of the characters. “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are very much part of their society” (1979, p.36-7) unlike Vladimir and Estragon who are social outcasts and devoid of time. Being part of their society gives Ros and Guil an identity and a small amount of stability for the audience to connect to them. This notion of identity is something which I explored within my work, to make it contemporary and relevant to today's society. I shall discuss the full influences of Stoppard's play on my work later in this essay.
Absurdism is a movement that began in theatre during the mid twentieth century. It came about through the rejection of the conventions of the traditional well-made play or text. Martin Esslin talks of absurdism in theatre in The Theatre of the Absurd:
If a good play must have a cleverly constructed story, these have no story or plot to speak of; if a good play is judged by subtlety of characterization and motivation, these are often without recognizable characters and present the audience with almost mechanical puppets; if a good play has to have a fully explained theme, which is neatly exposed and finally solved, these often have neither a beginning nor an end;… if a good play relies on witty repartee and pointed dialogue, these often consist of incoherent babblings. (Esslin, 1961, p.21-22)
Both Waiting for Godot and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead were written during and influenced by the absurdist movement, and when comparing the conventions of these plays to the quote from Esslin above it's easy to distinguish this. One of the reasons I enjoy Beckett and Stoppard's plays is because of them being so abstract, yet inconspicuously deep and intelligent. This is especially within in their use of language, as Esslin continues denoting that absurdist drama “tends towards a radical devaluation of language… what happens on stage often contradicts the words spoken by the characters” (1961, p.26). Their contradictive language and ‘incoherent babblings' of the everyday actions and occurrences of life invoke thought within the reader and/or spectator. It is through their use of language and contradictions that the theatre of the absurd reveals its intent of “making its audience aware of man's precarious and mysterious position in the universe” (1961, p.402).
John Bull in The Cambridge Companion to Tom Stoppard talks of the “pattern of repetition, suggesting that nothing in human history will or can be changed, which is central to absurdist theatre” (2001, p.138-139). It could be seen that this negative ideology arose because of the devaluations of ideals within society, people within cultures becoming disillusioned, hypnotized and controlled by dictatorships and passivity becoming the cultural norm. All these notions could be seen around and throughout the World Wars, all of which influenced the absurdist movement. Esslin continues stating that absurdist theatre renounces “arguing about the absurdity of the human condition; it merely presents it in being” (1961, p.25) Both Bull and Esslin's points are notions which I attempted to incorporate into my project, and was a major theme in the play that I wrote which originally influenced this area of study.
Existentialism is a philosophical movement that began at the beginning of the twentieth century. Existentialism within theatre looks at the presence of human existence and the awareness of being. It is often seen within The Theatre of the absurd, though the two have their differences; within absurdist theatre it presents and emphasizes the absurdity of the human condition and uncertainty of existence. J.L Styan comments that the “Theatre of the absurd revealed the negative side of Sartre's existentialism, and expressed the helplessness and futility” (1981, p.125) of existence within the world. It is existentialism within the Theatre of the absurd that forces the viewer or reader to ask the questions and reflect on their own being and existence, sometimes having an impact of emptiness upon them. But it nonetheless evokes much thought. The theme of human existence lies throughout both Waiting for Godot and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Both pairs of protagonists question their being and purpose; Estragon states “nothing is certain” (Beckett, 1956, p.53) and the Player within R&GAD tells Guildenstern that “uncertainty is the normal state” (Stoppard, 1967, p.47). This uncertainty emphasizes the ambiguity of the world and existence and is a characteristic of the human condition. This notion is something which I wanted my work to integrate within my play. For Peter Boxall, existentialism within Theatre is whereby “the superficial metaphysical, social and ideological meaning structures are seen to collapse around the brute physical existence of the characters on stage” (2000, p.22).
Intertextuality and the Play
Within my play, one of the most significant ideals that I wanted to incorporate is very apparent within both Godot and R&GAD; that of companionship and having someone to share life with. It was apparent to me after reading Godot that Gogo and Didi are quite co-dependent on having one another's company. They are two halves of a whole in some respects; like an aged married couple. They are perhaps opposites, who fit together and their relationship is formed not from choice, but “of a mutual necessity” (Lawley, 2008, p.51) of not wanting to be alone. Lawley continues to say throughout the piece the reader comes to see that they live an “essentially hyphenated existence” (2008, p.51). When I began writing my original sketch, I deliberated over whether this hyphenated existence of two characters could be merged into but one character? And whether it was possible that this relationship could be purely psychological? Being as the two characters were two halves of one character I thought it may be possible but there would need to be existence of someone, or something to channel dialogue and thought to. Thus the idea of an ‘imaginary' friend became valid. The main character within my work is seemingly a homeless schizophrenic and can be the two opposites that Didi and Gogo are; simple and intellectual, impulsive and obsessive, pessimistic and optimistic. Out of the desire of fellowship, he created an imaginary friend via a poster on the street where he sleeps.
This notion of companionship is borne from the ambiguity of the human existence as “nothing is certain” (1956, p.53). The only perception of absolute certainty within life is that of death. It is the vagueness of the world we live in creates a chaotic and random place, something which is reflected in both Godot and R&GAD. In life we assign meaning to an otherwise meaningless world; if we did not then we would be consciously lost. By having a friendship, it creates a partial justification for existence and helps distract from the uncertainty of human existence (and at times relieves us of the accompanying depression). Beckett shows how Didi and Gogo justify their existence upon “waiting for Godot” (1956, p.48). Considering the solitary absolute certainty of life is death and fitting in with Beckett's views on the futility of human action within existence, it could be seen that perhaps he is merely pointing out that all that Didi and Gogo are really waiting for is death. Gordon believes that Beckett's protagonists hold onto their faith that Godot will arrive so that “somehow and someday [their] meaning will manifest” (2002, p.58). Within my play, Bob is continually assigning meaning of existence through his friendship with his imaginary friend of the same name; Bob declares that “without you, Bob, I'd be lost… you keep me sane” (Act 1, pg.5).
Cahn states that within absurdist plays “characters find themselves thrown together, and they remain no not from a desire to maintain that relationship but rather from a fear of being alone” (1979, p.19). Bob's relationship with his imaginary friend is not one of stability and they constantly argue and dispute the small inane things of life; similar to Didi and Gogo. Like Beckett's protagonists, Bob will never leave his ‘friend' due to this fear of being alone combined with the ambiguity of existence. Cahn continues denoting that “existence itself, irrespective of personal relationships, is problematic enough” (1979, p.39). We can see in Act II of Locationally Challenged that the ambiguity of existence extends into the imaginary friendship of Bob and ‘Bob'; “I almost thought you were gone forever!” (Act II, p.9). Bob represents human kind in terms of relationships; he emphasizes the fact that the ambiguity of both friendship and existence does not erase the significance of the fact that human beings need companionship. “The self is always bound to, because constituted by, its ineradicable relationship to others” (Connor, 1992, p.104) even if these ‘others' do not exist in the physical sense.
Repetition is a significant phenomenon within Godot. It is seen within the dialogue, the actions of the characters and the narrative structure of the play. Taylor-Batty denotes that “the second act repeats the sequence of events” (2008, p.28) from the first act. The point which I made earlier, that Godot contained not a story, but a representation of the actions and events of everyday life, links in with this repetitive structure and the notion of nothing happening in man's existence. Repetition is the vertebrate of the monotony and enforces the mundanity of life. We as human beings are born; we eat, sleep, grow and then we die. This existential reference is portrayed throughout R&GAD and especially be seen Godot because of the repetition of the first act. I decided within my piece, that a repetition of my first act in Godot fashion would be rather fitting because of the theatrical impact it would produce, in terms of getting existential themes of the futility of existence across to the reader. For this same effect certain dialogue was repeated and also helped in creating a cyclical feel to my work and for the emphasis that time is to be filled with inane conversation and pointless arguments and actions as in Godot.
BOB: …There you go again, bitching about my beard.
(Act I, p.3)
BOB: …Stop complaining about my beard; it has nothing to do with our friendship
(Act III, p.13)
Critic Steven Connor states that “Vladimir and Estragon have nothing to repeat; everything is happening for the first and last time” (1988, p.129). Considering the truth in Connor's statement, in terms of the characters it is because of their lack of memory that they repeat their inane actions and dialogue; this also applies to Bob within my play. This repetition illustrates how our lives are structured around memory and the ability to recall the experiences of living, therefore when we cannot do so it places emphasis upon the senselessness of existence.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead ‘s structure was also of influence to my work. Whence my writing for my script began I found that many of the situations in which I created would not in adequate suitability in the solitary Godot-style repetition of my first act that I intended. Stoppard's play has three acts; however, these acts are dissimilar to Godot, in terms of Godot's placing much more considerable emphasis on the repetitive. After some thought, I decided that I would incorporate an elements of structure from both R&GAD and Godot. I chose to still include the repetition of my first act, but have an act in between them, which would produce an avenue for exploration in terms of the themes of my work. Stoppard's narrative structure conforms to the absurdist notion of not having a cleverly constructed plot, but more is seemingly more abstract, which like the repetition within Beckett's play emphasizes the monotony within life; Stoppard's abstract style acts help enforce the idea of the uncertainty of human existence.
The statement I made earlier about the notion of Ros and Guil having an identity was a further influence to my play. Their identity is something to which audiences could adhere and make a connective comparison with their society. This was a concept that I integrated within my play. The first is through Bob's status in society. Ros and Guil's identity derives from their items clothing, which were “symbolic of [their] social standing” (1979, p.37) as is Bob's identity derisive from his apparel. Bob is clad in “dirty navy jeans, torn in several places… [And] a stained maroon chequered jacket” (Act I, p.1), and automatically subjects the audiences thought to the fact that he is homeless. I wanted to exemplify the idea of Bob being homeless to express the lack of solidarity which is apparent within society today. People within modern developed culture have grown incredibly selfish and materialistic, and there is an obvious divide growing between the very rich and the very poor. This self-centred train of thought can be seen through the recent MP expenses scandal within London Parliament in May 2009 (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6301723.ece, 2009). People seem to have lost the ability to care for the well being of others. This is evident within contemporary society via every city you visit, and taking the time to focus on the homeless community. This notion can be seen through the business man who walks by Bob's bench;
BOB: (Trying to stop the businessman) Excuse me sir, could you spare some change please?
MAN: Sorry, I don't have any.
BOB: (Slightly angry) Yeah that's what they all say…
MAN: Piss off you homeless tramp.
(Act I, p.3)
To further reiterate this point, the use of Beckett's repetition links to and works with this notion in the last Act, where this businessman walks by Bob again.
One can see how the Theatre of the absurd influenced my piece in several ways. Fore mostly it can be identified within the fact that Locationally Challenged complies with the rejection of the conventions of the well-made play, which is apparent in absurdist movement plays. My play has no logical plot or structure and the absence of which “serves to reinforce the monotony and repetitiveness of time in human affairs” (1981, p.126). The assertion I made earlier, of the themes within absurdist theatre that Bull and Esslin discuss, are very much prevalent within my work. Bull's belief that nothing in human history can or will change, is very central in contemporary philosophical thought as well as to the Theatre of the absurd. This is something which can be observed throughout Act II of my play, especially at the end in Bob's monologue after Jude tells him that man cannot change what is in his nature. Bob talks of an ‘ideal world' being one where people would be “able to communicate freely, selflessly and more forthrightly” (Act II, p.11).
Esslin's statement which denoted that absurdist drama merely presents the human condition in its play rather than arguing it also is a concept that I assimilated into my work; seen through Bob's strange and illogical behaviour The Theatre of the absurd also conveys that an absurdist play should contain “characters whose motives and actions remain largely incomprehensible” (1961, p.411). Within my work, Bob is almost completely devoid of any motives, if he has any, we never find out what they truly are; is he, like Didi and Gogo, really just filling in the void of time of waiting helplessly via inane and pointless action until death? What increases this incomprehensibility of Bob's nature, is the consistency of the language of ‘incoherent babblings' as Esslin labels it. Much of the dialogue could be viewed as meaningless, such as Bob discussing their daily plans with ‘Bob' (though much also has comic intent); “We could… go down to supermarket and cause a scene?... Over a family pack of condoms being too damn expensive?” (Act I, p.2)
In relation to existential debate, Pavis asserts that “Man is a timeless abstraction incapable of finding a foothold in his frantic search for a meaning that constantly eludes him” (1998, p.1). In modern day society, the perception of own being is ever present. We ask such fundamental questions as ‘Why are we here?' and ‘What is our purpose?'. It is well known that it is “a human trait to require answers and clarification” (Taylor-Batty, 2008, p.19), but as time progresses and we experience through our existence, it also becomes known that life itself is nearly always devoid of the answers we seek. Time and our existence within it are both arbitrary concepts created by human beings. This existential thought of the ambiguity of human existence and our purpose within it, is conveyed throughout Locationally Challenged. As mentioned before, we attempt to assign meaning to things that otherwise have none to give ourselves a sense of purpose. Bob attaches himself to the bench onstage, as it symbolizes stability. He has not attached any real meaning within his life, so has formed meaning of the bench next to the poster of ‘Bob' who represents his imaginary friend; “I CAN'T DO IT!... I can't leave” (Act II, p.8). Existentialist thought also stretches to the dialogue within my play, through the religious connotations brought through Bob's questioning of his ‘dog', which is in fact an anagram for God.
BOB: …Where did my dog go?
BOB: Yeah my dog. I think.
(Act II, p.9)
The religious connotations actually extend somewhat further than this however, as the character of Jude within my work, derives in part from biblical teachings of Jesus and his disciples. For a vast amount of time while writing my script, Jude didn't actually have a name and it was not until I had written the scene above, when I started to think of a name. Judas the Iscariot is the twelfth apostle of Jesus and is one of the more well known of the apostles due this betrayal of Jesus. I made several connections between Judas and the character I created, and decided it would be fitting, however did not fit in with my modern outlook. Thus Jude was born. A final example of existentialism within my work as a theme works within the end Act II during Bob's monologue. There is a point of realisation, and Bob is hit with the notion of his isolation and the sense of purposelessness within his existence and is reduced to tears; “Bob begins to weep quietly and drops to the floor…” (Act II, p.11).
I hope one can see the obvious influences within my work, being that they are considerable; especially in terms of the similar themes which are expressed within Godot and R&GAD. Kristeva's notion of intertextuality can be seen to have affected my work through these two plays, as well as their genre of absurdism. The semiotics of language from both Godot and R&GAD can be seen to have been transposed into modernity within my play, as well as their themes of existence within the world. It is also clear to see that within R&GAD ‘s text, that “the use of Godot appealed to Stoppard” (2001, p.138). The same way in which Stoppard utilized the conventions and narrative within Godot, is how I have utilized both texts. There is conceptual relevance to absurdism through the narrative structure, action and themes. Esslin's denotation of the Theatre of the absurd even complies with the conventions of my work, being that it represents “a convention of the stage basically different from the ‘realistic' theatre of our time” (1961, p.403).
By means of its contemporary nature my play cannot be accurately be placed into the category of the Theatre of the absurd. In truth it is a hybridized genre of absurdity, comedy, existentialism and modernity. Nevertheless, at the heart of my play, lie the same conventions and intellectual issues that are wrought within the Theatre of the absurd and its existential outlook; a focus on the question of “How is man to reconcile himself to that absurd world in which he finds himself trapped?” (1979, p.36). This is a question to which the answer is doused in ambiguity. The only clear path for man, is to conform to the conventions of absurdity himself. Bob summarizes the answer to this as “always simple, but is definitely not pure… or is it always pure and never simple? Or neither?” (Act II, p.9). Human beings have become a product of our environment, history and nature - is something in which we cannot change.
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- Times Online (2009) Expenses Scandal; House of Frauds, Available at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6301723.ece (Accessed 10 March 2010)
 Especially true in terms of the exploration of the human condition and existence.
 Such as the Judas Kiss being the sign of the damnation of Jesus, Jude's Kiss symbolizes a similar damnation of Bob.