Eleuthéria: A Play in Three Acts
Just before he wrote the classic Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett wrote another play, entitled Eleutheria. The legend runs that Suzanne Descheveaux-Dumesnil, Beckett's wife, presented the great French director Roger Blin with his choice of two plays: one, Waiting for Godot and the other - Eleutheria. The play with five actors and two acts won out over the one with seventeen characters and elaborate, and numerous, scene changes. Eleutheria then disappeared for some forty years, until the day Samuel Beckett placed a manuscript into the hands of his old friend and original American publisher, Barney Rosset, and told him it was his. As Beckett scholars, among them James Knowlson and John Spurling, have noted, elements in Eleutheria prefigure many of the themes and characters of Beckett's most important works. Beyond the historical interest of this "lost" work by one of the century's great writers, there is the mesmerizing quality of the master playwright's language. His unmatched Gaelic wit and grace is evident even in this, perhaps the least-known of his completed works.
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