Play is a one act play that I watched once in my teens and it has stuck in my head ever since.
In the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters we come across a number of monologues of people who after death have something to say, have some inner turmoil they want to confess an inner secret, to declare something or just to simply boast, if you ever get a chance to read it, it is like coming across a row of headstones and with each one, one at a time, we get to hear from the characters underneath that headstone. Play reminds me of some of the Spoon River monologues only that Beckett has looked at it and shook it and come out with something a little different. I say this of course with the thought that Beckett probably never read Spoon River. Also it’s not as long.
In Play we hear the story of an affair, the main characters being the male and two females. Going on what is said the male has been having an affair with one of the females the other female being the unfortuny wife. I like to give the male the name Hiccup Pardon because he hiccups and pardons himself in the Play.
We hear the story from each of the characters, they don’t talk to each other, they talk to us when it is their turn to speak which is signified by a light shining on them. What’s even more peculiar is that the characters are represented as urns. To me it felt like the voices of the urns tell their story when we open each one at a time and the story from each character comes out. We know little about the characters other than what they say and they all talk at speed in a rapid tempo although it suggested that the love triangle are probably middle class and English. The story is not entire linear, it is repeated but not in the character order as before like we are listening to their story but opening each urn lid in a different order.
Why the voices are in urns we don’t know. I like to think that the characters have become nothing but memories. I have always observed play as more of an experience than a performance.
(Assuming they’re still there, I’ll post video links to the play in my little comment section. See what you think. How would you interpret what they are?)