New York City
A piercing bell sounds, and Winnie, buried in rubble up to her waist, awakes. Trapped, she rummages in a bag, brushes her teeth, kisses her gun, and chatters to her husband Willy, who all but ignores her. And yet, nothing could be better. Samuel Beckett’s two-person masterpiece, Happy Days, offers a portrait in miniature of companionship at its hyperbolic limit: a couple having only one another, and then hardly that.
The magnificent Fiona Shaw renews her partnership with director Deborah Warner — following the pair’s stunning Medea (BAM 2002 Next Wave Festival) — in an arresting performance as a woman faced with no option but optimism. Inhabiting Beckett’s taut prose, voluminous silences, and angular rhythms, Shaw discovers an emotional space where even the merest fragments of something are infinitely richer than nothing.
Final performance: April 14, 2024