puzzling plays

I borrowed A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen from the school library some time ago, and I haven’t returned it yet. Since it’s the school holidays now, I wasn’t sure if I was accruing an insane amount of fines. So, I checked the school library online portal.

Lo and behold, no record of me borrowing A Doll’s House! Instead there was a record of The Alchemist by Ben Jonson.

I went to Google it. Turns out The Alchemist seems fairly obscure and is about… guess what, an alchemist! I went to read the first few lines online. And…

Face. Believe ‘t, I will.
Subtle. Thy worst. I fart at thee.

I… wait.. I FART at thee?!


-Who are we waiting for? -Godot!

Vladimir: I don’t understand.
Estragon: Use your intelligence, can’t you?
Vladimir uses his intelligence.
Vladimir: (finally) I remain in the dark.

Waiting for Godot has a minimalist background: each character seems to suffer from some kind of amnesia, so that no one can quite remember what happened the day before.

In this play, we first encounter the two main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, waiting for a mysterious man called Godot. But before you think this play is just about people sitting around and waiting– it is not.

As they chatter, we get to see how close they are, and how distinct they are from each other. Estragon is the smart one, the one who always corrects Vladimir, who, in turn, appears to be more impulsive, somewhat insecure and reliant on Estragon.

Vladimir and Estragon’s friendship is perhaps extremely strange, but the play brings out their closeness and their reliance on each other which is touching, if in an unconventional way.

“And whatever do we do? Martello demanded, getting up and coming round the table. “Weatherby’s not in here, George. He never entered the Colony. He can leave by the same damn route!”
“Please don’t shout at me,” Smiley said.

And later:

Guillam was standing his height, barring the way, and for an extraordinary moment it seemed possible that, broken shoulder notwithstanding, he proposed physically to restrain Martello from coming any closer to where Smiley sat.
‘Peter,’ Smiley said quietly. ‘I see there’s a telephone behind you. Perhaps you’d be good enough to pass it to me.’

I love Le Carre.

Above quotes from John Le Carre’s The Honourable Schoolboy.

just waiting a while

The waiting room of the pretty Foreign Office conference house in Carlton Gardens was slowly filling up. People in twos and threes, ignoring each other, like mourners for a funeral. A printed notice hung on the wall saying ‘Warning, no confidential matter to be discussed’. Smiley and Guillam perched disconsolately beneath it, on a bench of salmon velvet.

– The Barons Confer, Chapter Eight of The Honourable Schoolboy by John Le Carre