Saturday, July 01, 2006

Pill-less in Petaling Jaya

So I went to see a play by Beckett today. Makes me feel so highbrow just saying that. Especially since I fell asleep not once but three times during the first half alone.

Such is genius. And after the play, we discussed it, my cousin, sister and I, and I came to the conclusion that it took place in protagonist's mind. I mean in the first half, she was submerged waist down and in the second, neck down.

Doesn't it make sense? We grow older and become less flexible. At least, it made sense to me. Made sense to my two brilliant compatriots, also. They nodded seriously and we waggled our collective eyebrows and felt very English lit-majorish. Except that none of us did English lit. Well, I did some, for my writing degree, but I do remember avoiding Beckett like the plague.

I tried to read Waiting For Godot, and hated it so much I couldn't get past the first few pages. Threw down the book in a fit of pique and resolved not to have anything to do with this monster.

Then of course, Charles (on whom I had only like the world's biggest crush):

Me to my cousin: I love Charles, I love Charles, I love Charles.

My cousin to me: (with tired sigh) Oh Jenn, he's 60, he's married, can't you focus your attention on someone else?

Me to cousin: But I love Charles, I love Charles, I love Charles.

(I get as repetitive and tiresome as those characters in Beckett plays - same thing over and over and over - have you any idea how boring internal monologue actually IS?)

Anyway Charles was teaching the Beckett class. He strongly recommended it...had cerebral orgasms describing the fellow. I listened to him, forehead furrowed, torn in two directions. Still didn't take it. Offended him when I came once on a visit to the Beckett class and didn't stay.

Charles to friend I came on a visit with: Where's Jennifer? I thought she was staying for the class.

Friend to Charles: Um, she doesn't really like Beckett.

Charles to friend: She doesn't like Beckett or she doesn't like me?

(I mean to say, what?)

Anyway, towards the end of the second (and final scene) she describes this terrible incident in her childhood where a mouse runs up her thigh and she screamed and screamed and screamed. Discussing this bit, we all nodded sagely and agreed that it pointed to sexual interference. When she was only 5. I mean a mouse. And her thigh. And the enormous impact of the memory.

(OK I haven't read any of the critics on this so may be totally off base, but heck, it's absurdist, so doesn't that mean you can sort of take it to mean anything?)

Anyway, have been suffering from massive insomnia for the past few weeks.(I fall asleep at about five or six in the morning no matter how morgue fodder-like I feel) So yesterday I went in search of pills.

And you know what?

Nobody would sell me Valium over the counter!!!!

So my pharmacist sister Jackie called and when I told her this, she was a little worried.

"Why do you want Valium?"

"I need to sleep."

"Oh. OK try these antihistamines. They have a soporific effect and can be obtained over the counter. But only first two days OK? Don't get hooked."

I took down their names. And was supposed to go buy them today. But then I slept late into the afternoon and then there was the play (which sort of came up unexpectedly - one of those spontaneous things people do) and now here I am past midnight, antihistamineless in Petaling Jaya.

My kingdom for backrow seats to another Beckett play.

8 comments:

Jenn said...

Um the kind of pills that give you thrills land you in jail over here. Sometimes hung. I dreamt once of being hanged by the throat until I died. It was not pleasant.

Grey Shades said...

if you fell asleep thrice during the first half how come you knew what was happening?

Jenn said...

Quasar: All's I know is that when I wake up, it's with a jerk like I re-entered my body. Yeah, didn't Freud talk about this addiction to death? (Although I am not a fan of Freud). And do you mean living multiple lifetimes at the same time?

Grey: Cos I am a genius, that's why!

Grey Shades said...

I think it would take more than agenius to figure out what was happening when you are sleeping :P So did ya get the pills finally?

part-time buddha said...

Waiting for Godot is, I think, one of the simplest plays to understand (though not the easiest to get through) if you combine it with Camus's idea of the myth of Sisyphus. I'm not trying to be pedantic here, but merely taking a page from the Modernists (like Beckett) and trying to coax you into seeking the answer on your own. Happy hunting.

I never watched nor read the play you saw (what's it called? I don't remember) because it sounded like the kind of thing during which I would fall asleep three times, even excepting several protracted nights of insomnia. Theater of the Absurd is just a hair's bredth away from Theater of the Boring in most cases.

Jenn said...

Sticks out tongue at Grey: Huh. I wasn't asleep the entire time. I simply nodded off for a few minutes here and there. When I woke up, she was saying the same things...It's gonna be a happy day Winnie. Good girl, Winnie. The old style.

PTB: It was called Happy Days. Dunnolar, I guess I could get into Theatre of the Absurd if I really really tried...but it was so nice to nod off...a lot of it was sort of mindless repetition (which I am sure was actually very deep and meaningful, nonetheless) Will try to get into Waiting for Godot. Although here, I think I will read the introduction and footnotes, etc, like when I'm reading Shakespeare...then possibly will not come out of experience feeling so frustrated.

Grey Shades said...

Sigh! I used to call my ex Winnie! Anyway hope you are rested and rejuvenated for the week ahead now!

Jenn said...

I slept. It was good. So good I shall write about it soon. As soon as Julie gets off the computer to make for the wild blue yonder....

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