“A novel by Samuel Beckett has been adapted for the stage for the first time by a University of Reading student.
Judy Hegarty-Lovett, a PhD student in Film, Theatre and Television (FTT) and an established theatre practitioner, drew on the university’s world-leading Samuel Beckett Collection to influence her direction of How It Is.
The play opened in Cork, Ireland, in February and has just finished a run at The Print Room in Notting Hill, London.”
Critics described the production of How It Is as a ‘mesmerising adaptation’ and ‘ambitious’ and ‘ingenious’.”
“Samuel Beckett’s How It Is: Philosophy in Translation maps out the novel’s complex network of intertexts, sources and echoes, interprets its highly experimental writing and explains the work’s great significance for twentieth-century literature. It offers a clear pathway into this remarkable bilingual novel, identifying Beckett’s use of previously unknown sources in the history of Western philosophy, from the ancient and modern periods, and challenging critical orthodoxies. Through careful archival scholarship and attention to the dynamics of self-translation, the book traces Beckett’s transformation of his narrator’s ‘ancient voice’, his intellectual heritage, into a mode of aesthetic representation that offers the means to think beyond intractable paradoxes of philosophy. This shift in the work’s relation to tradition marks a hiatus in literary modernism, a watershed moment whose deep and enduring significance may now be appreciated.”
“While Beckett is often seen as impenetrable and difficult, there is so much in this work that is strangely comfortable and familiar. There are many rewards to be found in it if you abandon the compulsion to make sense of it all, and just let it wash over you.
At the end, by whatever strange alchemy is wrought I feel enervated and alive rather than consumed by existential angst. A tale of the unexpected.”
Beckett, Lacan and the Mathematical Writing of the Real proposes writing as a mathematical and logical operation to build a bridge between Lacanian psychoanalysis and Samuel Beckett’s prose works. Arka Chattopadhyay studies aspects such as the fundamental operational logic of a text, use of mathematical forms like geometry and arithmetic, the human obsession with counting, the moving body as an act of writing and love, and sexuality as a challenge to the limits of what can be written through logic and mathematics. Chattopadhyay reads Beckett’s prose works, including How It Is, Company, Worstward Ho, Malone Dies and Enough to highlight this terminal writing, which halts endless meanings with the material body of the word and gives Beckett a medium to inscribe what cannot be written otherwise.
The Irish Examiner: “[Stephen Dillane] is in Cork to rehearse for How It Is, a production of Samuel Beckett’s little-known 1962 novel. It has been adapted by Gare St Lazare Players, the Irish theatre company who have been to the fore in interpreting and performing the writer’s work for almost two decades.”
On 23 February 2018, Gare St Lazare Ireland and Le Centre Culturel Irlandais will host a symposium on Samuel Beckett’s 1961 novel Comment C’est/How It Is. The Symposium will feature a number of international Beckett scholars and artists including Daniela Caselli, Peter O’Neill, Jean Michel Rabaté, Judy Hegarty Lovett, Anna McMullan, Dunlaith Bird, Dan Gunn, Mel Mercier and Pim Verlhurst and the event will conclude with a reading from How It Is by actor Conor Lovett.