Westport hosts Beckett’s ‘Happy Days’

Going Out

SUBLIMELY RIDICULOUS Sandra O’Malley as Winnie in Blue Raincoat Theatre Company’s production of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days.

Ciara Moynihan

There’s nothing quite like a Beckett play’s absurdist exploration of the human condition to make us ponder life’s contradictions, struggles and, let’s face it, ridiculousness. Comedy and tragedy seesaw through strange scenes, taking us out of the familiar so that we can look at the inconsistencies of this world anew, no longer lulled into unquestioningly accepting them by their quotidian relentlessness.
Fans of Samuel Beckett will be thrilled to hear that ‘Happy Days’ – named one of the best 40 plays of all time by the UK’s Independent – is being staged in Westport this Saturday, February 25, by Sligo-based Blue Raincoat Theatre Company. The central character of ‘Happy Days’ is a trapped woman: Winnie, a woman in her 50s, buried waist-deep in the centre of a mound of scorched earth, with little else around other than a large bag of everyday things and a collapsed parasol. Behind her, hidden from view, sleeps Willie. He appears occasionally, muttering, to interrupt Winnie’s thoughts. But Winnie is mostly alone.
The theme of the play has been described as ‘a woman grappling with the everyday and the existential on a dying, ruthless earth’. (Though written over 60 years ago, the resonance with today’s pressing theme of climate change is undeniable.) The late theatre critic John Peter wrote, “Only Beckett could have written this play: a hilarious account of extinction, a short sonata for the dead, scored for female voice and male mumble.”
Playing the unforgettable Winnie is Westport native Sandra O’Malley, originally from the Quay, while Willie is played by John Carty.  Director Niall Henry was recently featured on Tommy Tiernan’s ‘Epic West’ on RTÉ 1.

‘Happy Days’ will be staged in Westport Town Hall Theatre on Saturday, February 25, at 8pm. For tickets (€18/€16) visit www.westporttheatre.com or call 098 28459.