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Beckett's BreathAnti-Theatricality and the Visual Arts$
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Sozita Goudouna

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474421645

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421645.001.0001

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Deeptime: Breath and the Look of Non-Art

Deeptime: Breath and the Look of Non-Art

(p.45) 1 Deeptime: Breath and the Look of Non-Art
Beckett's Breath

Sozita Goudouna

Edinburgh University Press

The first chapter charts a chronological parallel between Samuel Beckett’s piece Breath (1969), as a representative piece of minimalism in the theatre (one of the shortest stage pieces ever written and staged), and Fried’s writing in 1967 of “Art and Objecthood” in an attempt to formulate a basic framework for thinking about the intersection of critical discourses on theatricality in the visual arts and the theatre, specifically about the notion of anti-theatricalism in the theatre and the modernist anti-theatrical impulse in the visual arts. The chapter demonstrates these claims by juxtaposing Michael Fried's polemics of theatricality and Beckett's anti-theatrical strategies. Samuel Beckett is a playwright who attempted to formulate an art theory and Michael Fried is perceived as a modernist art critic, who has written about the theatre and has criticized theatricality. The focus of this chapter is on how the “Three Dialogues” can be applied to a work like Breath, so as to illuminate specific aspects of the playlet, principally, Beckett's decision to eradicate the text and the human figure, hence, the interest lies in the ways that Beckettian aesthetics translates into practice.

Keywords:   Art, Objecthood, Michael Fried, Three Dialogues, anti-theatricality

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