“Blaming Beckett”

Today is the birthday of the late playwright, Sam Beckett. So, it seems like a good time to share my short Beckett parody play, “Blaming Beckett.” This was created as a writing exercise and is intended to be just for fun.

Language warning: It’s rare that I use profanity, but I do here. Kiddies, please skip this post.

Copyright 2004 Daniel R. Sherrier. You can share this link. Otherwise, do not reproduce without my permission.

“Blaming Beckett”

By Daniel Sherrier


A, B, C

(The stage is bathed in pink lights.  A is standing in a garbage can with one arm raised in the air.  B is upside-down in another garbage can with legs hanging up in the air, creating a “V” at an angle of 45-degrees.  C stands off to the side, perfectly still, with a bag over his face.  A should be facing C, and a distance of 3.7 meters should separate the two, and at no time should A look at anything other than C.  The distance between A and B should be 0.2 meters.  A’s arm and B’s legs are not to move at all except where noted.  A tree branch containing two leaves and of 1.2 meters in length should be placed 0.3534 meters in front of B’s garbage can.  The garbage cans should be gray in color and not exceed 1.03 meters in height, nor should they exceed 1.97 meters in circumference.  C is not to breathe.  Failure to comply with these stage directions shall result in criminal prosecution.)

B:        Sam Beckett can kiss my ass.

A:        Don’t insult the playwright.

(Lights turn to blue.)

B:        The playwright?  How is he a playwright?  How is this a play?

A:        It’s a work of art.

B:        Yeah, having two people in garbage cans is just so artistic.

A:        Don’t forget C.

(C shrugs.  Lights turn to red.)

B:        Oh, yes, C.  How could I forget good old C?  Just standing there shrugging his shoulders at random intervals.  Oh, such pathos…

(C shrugs.)

A:        It’s supposed to represent the uncertainty of humanity at this crucial point in history when–

B:        I don’t want to hear it.  That’s it.  I’m getting out of this damn garbage can.

A:        No, you can’t get out…It’s not in the stage directions.

B:        So I’m improvising.

A:        You can’t improvise!

(Lights turn to green.)

B:        That’s right.  Beckett’ll sue my ass off if I screw up his precious stage directions.  Fuck Beckett.

A:        Just face it.  You’re upside-down in the can until the play is over.

B:        All my blood is rushing to my head.

A:        It can’t be more than a few minutes longer.

B:        Your arm has to be getting tired by now.

A:        Maybe a little.

(C shrugs.  Lights turn to purple.)

B:        So bring it down for just a second.  No one will notice.

A:        I can’t.

B:        You can.

A:        At the end of the next page, I lower it to hip-level for precisely two-point-four seconds and then raise it back up at an 83-degree angle.  I can wait until then.

B:        Coward.

A:        I don’t see you jumping out of your garbage can, now do I?

B:        Somehow, this has gotten oddly comfortable.

A:        Sure.

(A coughs.)

B:        That was tough acting there.

A:        I had to make sure the cough was delivered at just the precise pitch and volume so as to convey that sense that–

B:        So how’s it going, C?

(Lights turn to yellow.)

B:        C?

A:        Wait for it.

B:        What the hell is he doing over there?

A:        Standing perfectly still.

B:        I don’t get that guy.

(C shrugs.)

A:        There you go.  He shrugged his shoulders.

B:        How shocking.

A:        Isn’t this fascinating?

B:        I don’t get it.

(Lights turn to orange.)

A:        Did you see that?  Wasn’t that great?  Damn, Beckett is a genius.

B:        I can’t see a fucking thing.

(A lowers his arm to hip-level for 2.4 seconds and then raises it back up at an 83-degree angle.)

A:        Ahhh…That was nice…

B:        What was nice?

A:        I moved my arm.

B:        With Beckett’s blessing, I’m sure.

A:        Of course.  I wouldn’t want to mess up his play.

B:        This isn’t a play.  We’re not doing anything.

A:        I just moved my arm.

B:        Oooh…How impressive.

(C shrugs.)

A:        You missed another shrug.  That one was the best yet, I thought.

B:        They’re all the same.

A:        No, you see, they occur in different color lighting, so each shrug has its own, unique personality because of the way the light–

B:        Don’t make me kick you.

A:        You can’t kick me.  Not in the stage directions.

B:        Then I’ll add my own stage directions at the end of the play.

A:        And then after that you can face the wrath of Beckett.

B:        Damn.

A:        Don’t mess with Beckett.  He will get you.

(Lights turn to brown.)

B:        So what are you doing after this “performance?”

A:        I don’t know.  Probably going home and watching some TV.  You?

B:        Probably the same.

(C shrugs.)

B:        What about you, C?

A:        Your timing was a little off.

B:        He’s no fun.

A:        We’re not here to have fun.  We’re here to produce a great work of art.

B:        Oh, excuse me.

A:        You’re excused.

B:        How much longer do we have?

A:        A little bit more.  I haven’t lowered my arm that second time yet.

B:        Are people actually still watching this?

A:        I don’t know.  My head can’t be turned directly at the audience.

B:        Has C suffocated yet?

A:        No, he’s still hanging in there.  I think.

B:        What if he passed out?  Wouldn’t that ruin everything?

(Lights turn to gold.)

A:        That won’t happen.

B:        We should do something different.

A:        No.

B:        You know Beckett’s not even in the audience.  He’ll never know.

A:        He will know.  He’s Beckett.

(C walks over to the branch and stops at 0.05 meters away from it.  C bends knees straight down and picks up branch with right hand.  His arm should never bend.  After holding the branch for 4.5 seconds, C bends knees straight down to place the branch 0.07 meters to the left of its original location.  C then returns to his original location.)

A:        Amazing.

B:        What?

A:        He picked up the branch.

B:        Oh.  Does that mean we’re almost done?  I’m getting kind of bored here.

A:        I think we’re almost there.

(A lowers his arm to hip-level for 2.4 seconds and then raises it back up at an 83-degree angle.  Lights turn to gray.)

A:        Yeah, we’ve got to be coming to an end.

B:        I’m so ready for a new script.  No more Beckett plays.

(C breathes for two seconds.  Lights turn to pink.)

(Repeat entire play.)

B:        Fuck Sam Beckett.