“The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new,” wrote Samuel Beckett. But that’s not true today! Because Happy Days, which bills itself as the “first annual festival to celebrate the work and influence of Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel Beckett,” begins today. (Happy Days is one of Beckett’s most affecting — and consistently produced — plays. It features a loquacious character named Winnie buried to her waist, then neck, who repeats “Oh this is a happy day.”) Beckett fans in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland (where Beckett was schooled and spent his formative years) are sure to agree with Winnie’s assessment for the next ten days at least.
The Happy Days festival runs through August 2. The program is exhaustive and marvelous for anyone interested in the famous author whose work has proved so durable. The festival should prove a reversal of a famous title of Beckett short stories: More Pricks Than Kicks.