Have a nice day!
As such, it took me no time from landing at JFK yesterday evening to be reminded me of Samuel Beckett's play, Happy Days, which I endured (with as much enjoyment as an enema) earlier this week at the National Theatre. In contrast to the verbal diarrhoea of New York, it portrays life ridden with emotional constipation. Winnie, as played by Fiona Shaw, spends the entire 90 minutes of the play encased in a mound of earth - first to her waist and then to her neck. Her companion, Willie, appears infrequently, but Winnie never stops talking to herself and him throughout her predicament. He rarely answers or acknowledges her, but with a monosyllabic grunt. In many ways it is a portrayal familiar to many marriages, of paradise long lost, with the inhabitants holding on through the years for basic survival. Today's press reviews are here: The Guardian liked it (click here), and the Torygraph loved it (click here).
The basic plot revolves around the distance between loneliness and solitude. The age old of question of is somebody better than nobody, even if the somebody is in fact a nobody? Is a bad relationship better than no relationship because at least someone is there to witness, to confirm that you are alive? If so, wouldn't Winnie, and by extension us, be saved by a life where strangers utter the meaningless "Have a Nice Day" to strangers not because it matters, but because its absence does? The answer lies within each of us.
That's all from NYC for today. But until tomorrow, may I bid you to"Have a Nice Day."
National Theatre, South Bank
Until 1 March, Book tickets from £10 here