Which one writer or play had the most impact on my writing
The Dramatist-November/December 2012
"I want to tell you about some of the things that Beckett has taught me. He taught me, more than anything else, and first: Do not ever imitate another playwright, especially if it's Sam Beckett you're planning to imitate. He is unique, he cannot be imitated; he cannot even be parodied, which is a true test of the extraordinary power of a writer. I don't understand why so many people think that Sam Beckett is an avant-garde playwright. I don't understand why so many people think that his work is obscure and difficult. Take Happy Days, for example. Completely naturalistic play. Act I, a woman buried up to her waist in a mound of earth. Well, we know that feeling, yes? Act 2, the woman is buried up to her neck-she is older-in a mound of earth. We know that feeling, too. That, by the way, is why it is a two-act play and not a three-act play.
Beckett was capable of mixing metaphor and reality without the metaphor ever getting in the way of the reality. He is the most naturalistic of playwrights. I'm convinced that if Waiting for Godot had first been performed on an outdoor patio, nobody would have been confused. And had Endgame been done in a recreation room, nobody would have said, "This is obscure, this is difficult, this is avant-garde." No writer that I know writes as purely, as clearly, as Sam Beckett does. There's so much that we playwrights can learn from him. Do not write a word that is not necessary. No music. Listen to the sounds, the music your characters make, and put that down precisely, but not an extra note, not an extra word.
There are probably four or five essential playwrights in the twentieth century: Beckett, Pirandello, Brecht, Beckett. And perhaps there are four essential novelists in the twentieth century: Proust, Joyce, Kafka, Beckett. Because Beckett did something extraordinary that no other writer has ever done. Not only did he reinvent the play, not only did he reinvent the drama, but he also reinvented the novel. This simple, pure, clear, most naturalisic, and most valuable of playwrights."
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