Two shows of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, a production by the French Embassy, was staged on Friday at Natmandal of Dhaka University.
Translated by Kabir Chowdhury and ShahinKabir and adapted and edited jointly by Shuvashis Sinha and Jyoti Sinha, the play, like most other Beckett plays, is a take on the absurdity of life, an investigation into meaning and meaninglessness of human existence.
Like Waiting for Godot, Endgame or Krapp’s Last Tape, Happy Days also shows the meaninglessness of human existence, living drearily and always in search of meaning but to no avail.
In the adaptation, director Shuvashis Sinha has made the two-act play a monodrama, while the original play has two characters.
The play shows the happenings in one day in the life of a middle-aged woman named Winnie. The play begins with the sound of a bell which wakes Winnie and ends with the sound of another bell that makes Winnie go to sleep.
In-between, what Winnie does, as Vladimir and Estragon do in Waiting for Godot, amounts to nothing. She opens her bag, brushes her teeth, looks herself in the mirror, and recounts her past, her first kiss, her love. In short, she does nothing that can be called ‘an action’.
What she does excessively is talking. She talks of her life, of her past, of her fading beauty and what not, and time and again she speaks of happy days that are yet to come.
Through her hour-long and apparently meaningless talks, Winnie indeed gives a glimpse into the human life that stretches from one alarm bell to another, and is comprised of tedious doings and repetitions.
Manipuri Theatre actress Jyoti Sinha, reputed for her acting in monodrama KoheBirangana, acted in the monodrama.