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Wednesday, 21 January 2004

MORAL RIGHTS FORCE EVEN LONGER WAIT FOR GODOT

The Daily Telegraph reports that a German theatre production of Samuel Beckett's masterpiece "Waiting for Godot" has been scrapped after a publisher's objection to the use of actresses. "Beckett wouldn't have wanted it", ruled the Fischer publishing house of Frankfurt, which owns the German rights. The play was only 10 days from opening night, after six weeks of rehearsals. The decision left the cast and Philip Kochheim, the director of the Landesbuhne Niedersachsen Nord, furious. Kochheim turned the two characters, Lucky and Estragon, into female parts alongside their male partners, Vladimir and Pozzo, in a tense, sexually-charged interpretation of the drama. A spokesman for Fischer however noted that people in theatrical circles were well aware of the notorious conditions attached by the Irish playwright: "This is not us being difficult, it's been determined by Beckett and is strictly adhered to by his heirs - that only men can wait for Godot." Kochheim and his cast now plan to hold a reading of the play, on condition that "no movement" is involved. Literary agency Curtis Brown administers the English-language performing rights for the play, originally published in French in 1952 as "En attendant Godot". The company said Beckett's estate had asked it not to comment on the reasons for his punctiliousness. Beckett's moral rights must be respected until the year 2059, 70 years after his death.

It seems to the IPKat that, in these days of human rights and equality of sexes, the exercise of the author's moral right appears to be one of the last bastions of political incorrectness.

Wait here for Godot, for God, for Doggo (here and here) and Gobbo
More on Samuel Beckett here; more on misogyny here, here and here
More on Beckett's estate asserting itself against post-mortem performances here

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