Samuel Beckett’s absurdist comedy Happy Days is set to hit the Belvoir Street stage in Sydney this November.
In this new production, Julie Forsyth takes centre stage as Winnie, one of the most surprising and extraordinary female roles invented by a playwright. Peter Carroll plays her long-suffering husband Willie.
Half-buried in a mound of earth, with a husband half buried in his newspaper, Winnie has only her handbag and its contents to divert her while the sun beats down relentlessly. Occasionally things get too much, but her eternal optimism wins every time. Although she keeps a revolver in reach, Winnie’s days are nearly all happy days.
Best known for his epic drama Waiting For Godot, Beckett wrote Happy Days in London in 1961. In it, he explores the paradoxes of Winnie’s life – her eternal happiness coupled with her slow demise into the earth, her endless chatter compared with Willie’s monosyllabic responses and the strangeness of the situation in which she finds herself, contrasted with the practicalities of her daily life.
Julie Forsyth shines in this role as a tour de force of tragic clowning – previously seen at the Belvoir Street Theatre with Small Poppies (2000).
This production, directed by Michael Kantor, comes to Sydney following its successful season at Malthouse Melbourne.
“I have long been intrigued by Happy Days, and am particularly drawn to the character of Winnie because of her endless optimism,” Kantor said.
“It poses a relevant question for contemporary audiences – ‘how can we remain positive when so much around us indicates we shouldn’t be?”
The play opens at the Belvoir Street Theatre on November 7. Bookings: (02) 9699 3444.