Decomposing and Recomposing Ghost Trio

  • Graley Herren


A full decade passed between Eh Joe and Beckett’s next original project for television, Ghost Trio.1 The interim period was one of the most productive and frenetic of his career. He resisted the potentially fossilizing effect of winning the 1969 Nobel Prize for Literature, continuing to produce original fiction, resurrecting and translating previous works, and conceiving new innovations for the stage. Perhaps his most pioneering accomplishments during this period were as a director. Between his first credited production on 1966’s He Joe for SDR and his next TV credits on 1977’s Shades program for the BBC 2 series “The Lively Arts,” Beckett directed, codirected, or supervised no fewer than a dozen productions of his work.2 His post-Nobel celebrity, though unwelcome, did insure that his plays (and their playwright) were in constant demand.


Familiar Object Female Voice Male Figure Love Object Directorial Style 
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  1. 3.
    Beckett would have known this painting well from his frequent visits to the Dublin gallery, where it hung in the Dargan Wing. A reproduction of the painting can be found in the exhibition catalogue, Samuel Beckett: A Passion for Paintings (Dublin: National Gallery of Ireland, 2006), 19.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    This quotation is so ubiquitous that attribution becomes slippery. To my knowledge, the first source to cite this anecdote is Enoch Brater, “The ‘I’ in Beckett’s Not I,” Twentieth Century Literature 20.3 (1974): 200. Tandy’s instructions on this point were doubtlessly communicated through her director Alan Schneider, to whom Beckett described Not I’s Voice in an October 16, 1972, letter: “I hear it breathless, urgent, feverish, rhythmic, panting along, without undue concern with intelligibility. Addressed less to the understanding than to the nerves of the audience which should in a sense share her bewilderment” (Harmon 283).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Graley Herren 2007

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  • Graley Herren

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