High School
English Language Arts

Absurd Theater: Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter's works

Samuel Beckett's, Waiting for Godot, and Harold Pinter's, Complete works. Three, 1963-1969 (on Amazon) are unparalleled in their ability to simultaneously capture students' interest and disgust. Their characters bring to life the German concept "schadenfreude," enjoying others' pain. Reading and performing the plays is like watching reality television.
A Collection By Melissa Mirabello
  • 8 Collection Items
  • 8 Collection Items
  • Discussion
Absurd Theater: Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter's works
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    Teachers may use this for their own understanding of absurdist theater or show the video to their students. I shared the video with my students. They were responsible for taking notes and comparing what they learned from other sources and their own interpretations to this video. I stress the importance of students obtaining information from a variety of reliable sources and then developing their own understanding of a concept.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    When teaching absurdity or the absurd theater, the more information and strategies, the better. This site is jam-packed with valuable resources for teachers to learn about and share Pinter's life and craft.
  • creativescreenwriting.com
    creativescreenwriting.com

    What Can We Learn from Harold Pinter?

    4 minute read
    Melissa Mirabello says:
    At some point, after reading and studying Beckett or Pinter's plays, students will benefit from focusing on the authors' styles. This article addresses Pinter's conscious use of fragments. Syntax and diction are incredibly important choices for both playwrights and a close reading helps students recognize these choices.
  • nytimes.com
    nytimes.com

    Harold Pinter, Playwright of the Anxious Pause, Dies at 78

    9 minute read
    Melissa Mirabello says:
    It is important for students to recognize that Pinter's play (and absurdist theater in general) have particular characteristics or literary conventions that convey meaning. Once a student identifies these style choices, he/she has a better chance at understanding the text's meaning.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    I ask the students to take notes while they watch this video clip What is the meaning beneath the surface? What is the metaphor? Why do they think so? I use this to segue into their own group Pinter imitation. The video helps them think about how a story can be told about one experience but suggest something far more powerful.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    This is a well-written reflection and practical advice for teaching Waiting for Godot. I love how the teacher emphasized that the play is meant to be performed, NOT merely read silently by students. The site gives a number of instructional hints, discussion questions, compelling questions self-tests, and essay prompts.
  • Drama Teacher's Network

    Website Blog
    dramateachersnetwork.wordpress.com
    dramateachersnetwork.wordpress.com
    Melissa Mirabello says:
    These teaching suggestions and materials are exceptional for many reasons: the anticipatory set (hooking students), the recognizable and appropriate video selections, and the experiential activity.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    The ideas on this page connect to the second resource on this site. I placed them separate because the first has valuable, honest feelings by a teacher and the struggles of teaching absurdity. After some rumination, the second resource (below) illustrates the teachers' successes in engaging students and improving their learning.
BloomBoard SparkOther Cross-Curricular
BloomBoard Asks:How is silence powerful? What is absurd theater?