The New Yorker:

By John Brooks

August 1, 1964

We have always liked to imagine Samuel Beckett as more the inhabitant of his own wild pages than of any mundane place or time, and we were consequently a bit skeptical, the other day, when we read in a newspaper that he had materialized in our very midst and could be found that morning in a small movie studio on the upper East Side, watching over the production of his first screenplay. We headed straight uptown, and were halfway down the long, dark hall of a converted bakery on Ninetieth Street when we came upon Barney Rosset, the president of Grove Press, Beckett’s American publisher. Mr. Rosset informed us that he had formed a subsidiary called Evergreen Theatre to commission and produce movies by his own authors, and that Evergreen’s first film, now in production but still without a title, was being made from three short screenplays by Mr. Beckett, Harold Pinter, and Eugène Ionesco. He grinned, bounded proudly down the rest of the hall and into the studio, and added that Beckett’s screen treatment, which contains no dialogue at all, had not only the author as adviser but Alan Schneider as its director, Boris Kaufman as its director of photography, and Buster Keaton playing its major character. Rosset then steered us across the studio, nimbly sidestepping coils of rope and piles of boxes on the floor, and left us at the door of the set of a small, exceedingly Beckettian room. It contained a rusty cot, a mattress smeared with dirt and sprouting chicken feathers through a large rip, a crumpled green blanket, a dingy mirror, an even dingier window hung with tattered curtains and an old air-raid shade, a picture of what looked like a carnival figure, a Chihuahua, a cat, a parrot, two goldfish, a Victorian rocker, a large camera on wheels, forty spotlights, twelve technicians, one script girl, two magazine photographers, Mr. Schneider, Mr. Kaufman, Mr. Keaton, a bearded cameraman named Joe Coffey, and Mr. Beckett, who was sitting in a corner on a Coca-Cola crate, peering intently at the scene. The playwright, materialized, turned out to be tall and quite thin, with soaring eyebrows and graying brown hair that stood straight up and swept back over his head like a wiry crest. He wore small round steel-rimmed glasses, a light-blue shirt rolled up at the sleeves and open at the neck, and tan trousers that were liberally splattered with feathers from the mattress. He was nervously smoking a strong French cigarette, and his forehead was deeply lined.

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