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Elena Dotsenko (Urals State Pedagogical Univeristy-Ekaterinburg, Russia)
Samuel Beckett and the Development of Postmodernism in British Drama

    Postmodernism in British drama could hardly be doubted as Tom Stoppard belongs to this theatre. The establishing of postmodernist technique in British drama may be considered since Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and from this very point it has been connected with Beckett’s theatre innovations. Not only Waiting for Godot influenced Stoppard’s play, but the dramatic version of postmodernism depends on Beckett’s theatricality. If performance is paradigmatic for postmodern culture, it was Beckett who forced theatre to concentrate on performance.

    For British theatre, Beckett has been one of the most influential theatre innovators of the 20th century due to the English version of his plays. On the other hand, Beckett’s impact is not concerned with the only movement or wave of national theatre. In the fifties and sixties the influence of Samuel Beckett as a playwright used to be mentioned first of all in regard with his leading position in the theatre of the absurd. Later it was connected with postmodernism, and the circle of the followers then became much wider practically in every national theatre. In the turn of the centuries not only the very idea of the absurd, but even postmodernism were mostly overcome, but not Beckett’s influence.

    Young British dramatists Sarah Kane and Jez Butterworth were, for example, compared to Beckett in the 1990s. According to David Rabey, “much British drama of the 1990s showed, -, - the influence of Beckett and Pinter applied to naturalistic or socially realistic situations.”[ Rabey, David Ian English Drama Since 1940. London: Pearson Education, 2003. P. 193] At the same time, some contemporary British dramatists, like Mark Ravenhill and Martin Crimp, may be called the new generation dealing with postmodernism. So, it is interesting to consider current relationship between Samuel Beckett’s heritage and ‘post-postmodernism’ in the writing of new British playwrights.

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