20 th Century Post War Theatre. 1945-1975. Historical Background. World War II left many haunting questions: How could a civilized world engaged in a war that resulted in over 35 million deaths? How could rational societies undertake genocide?
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They are soon interrupted by the arrival of Pozzo, a cruel but lyrically gifted man who claims to own the land they stand on, and his servant Lucky, whom he appears to control by means of a lengthy rope.
After Pozzo and Lucky depart, a boy arrives with a message supposedly from Godot, which states that Godot will not come today, "but surely to-morrow."
The second act follows a similar pattern to the first, but when Pozzo and Lucky arrive, Pozzo has inexplicably gone blind and Lucky has gone dumb. Again the boy arrives in order to announce that Godot will not appear. The much-quoted ending of the play goes as follows:
Vladimir: Well? Shall we go?
Estragon: Yes, let's go.
They do not move.Waiting for Godot (1952)
Feels no need to explain why something happens or who a character is
Characters lack explanation of backgrounds or motives
Introduction of menacing outside forces
Dialogue captures pauses, evasions, and incoherence of modern speech
The “Pinter Pause”
Pinter is known for use of unbearable silence, with many meticulously considered and immensely significant pauses written into his scripts.
What the characters don't say is just as important as the words that do pass their lips.
Pinter actually writes silence. When played correctly, Pinter's pauses can be as eloquent as his dialogue.
The Dumb-waiter (1957)
The Birthday Party (1957)
The Homecoming (1965)Harold Pinter (1930- )
Willy Loman has been a traveling salesman for thirty-four years. He likes to think of himself as being vital to the New England territory. He asks his wife Linda about his sons, who are home for the first time in years. Willy has trouble understanding why Biff, his thirty-four year old son, cannot find a job and keep it. Biff is attractive and was a star football player in high school with several scholarships; however, he could not finish his education, for he flunked math. When Biff went to Boston to find his father and explain the failure to him, he found Willy in his hotel room having an affair with a strange woman. Afterwards, Biff held a grudge against his father, never trusting him again.
Willy explains to his sons that the important things in life are to be well liked and to be attractive. While Biff plans to start his own business with his brother Happy, Willy goes to his boss where he is told that he cannot even represent the firm in New England any more. This news turns Willy's life upside- down. Suddenly unemployed, he feels frightened and worthless.
Biff admits that he is tired of living a life filled with illusion and plans to tell his father not to expect anything from him anymore. Biff tries to explain to Willy that he has no real skills and no leadership ability. In order to save his father from disappointment, he suggests that they never see one another again. Willy still refuses to listen to what Biff is saying; he tells Biff how great he is and how successful he can become. Biff is frustrated because Willy refuses to face the truth. In anger, Biff breaks down and sobs, telling Willy just to forget about him.
Willy decides to kill himself, for Biff would get twenty thousand dollars of insurance money to start his own business and make it a decent living. At Willy's funeral, no one is present. He dies a pathetic, neglected, and forgotten man.Death of a Salesman (1949)
After being exiled from her hometown of Laurel, Mississippi, for seducing a seventeen-year-old boy at the school where she taught English, Blanche explains her unexpected appearance on Stanley and Stella's (Blanche's sister) doorstep as nervous exhaustion. This, she claims, is the result of a series of financial calamities which have recently claimed the family plantation, Belle Reve.
Suspicious, Stanley, a sinewy and brutish man, is as territorial as a panther. He tells Blanche he doesn't like to be swindled and demands to see the bill of sale. This encounter defines Stanley and Blanche's relationship. But Stanley and Stella are deeply in love. Blanche's efforts to impose herself between them only enrages the animal inside Stanley.
When Mitch -- a card-playing buddy of Stanley's -- arrives on the scene, Blanche begins to see a way out of her predicament. Mitch, himself alone in the world, reveres Blanche as a beautiful and refined woman. Yet, as rumors of Blanche's past in Auriol begin to catch up to her, her circumstances become unbearable.A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)