Understanding in Marriage: What Really Interferes?

Winnie in Beckett's play "Happy Days"
Winnie, in Beckett's play "Happy Days"

By Anne Fielding. Originally part of a public seminar at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in New York City given by There Are Wives.

There is a 1961 play by Samuel Beckett, titled Happy Days, a revival of which I saw recently at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  It opens with a wife, Winnie, embedded above her waist in a mound of earth, the lower part of her body stuck, unable to move.

Behind and below her, lying asleep, largely hidden by the mound, his face not seen, is her husband, Willie, who remains pretty much in this position throughout the play (except when his wife encourages him to retreat into his hole in the ground). He rarely speaks, and then only in short, abrupt phrases, while Winnie spends her day examining the contents of her large handbag, combing her hair, looking at herself in a hand mirror, talking out loud in a kind of rambling way, going from one thing to another—all the while making sure her husband is still there in the background, hasn’t gone away or died…. more

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