Happy Days, Samuel Beckett’s modernist masterpiece, is the ultimate emblem of perseverance. In the iconic playwright’s lifelong pursuit to illuminate consciousness on stage, Beckett devised the character of Winnie: a tour de force of charm and grit, helplessly buried up to her waist in the ground. She endures the wearisome humdrum of endless, interchangeable days. And now, speaking to an audience who has faced a year of quarantine, the play endures too.
The New York Times
To commemorate the play’s 60th anniversary, the wild project and director Nico Krell are revitalizing this mammoth, mysterious work. In an exception allowed only during the global pandemic, the performance will be recorded and broadcasted online, delicately translated to the screen by a team of artists working on the cutting edge of digital theatre. This is the first (and due to licensing restrictions, likely only) time a theatrical production of this play will be released on film.
Winnie wakes up at the sound of a bell, inexplicably stuck in the ground, buried up to her waist in a desolate wasteland. There is no life as far as the eye can see, except for her melancholic, sleeping husband Willie. With so little to do and no chance of escape, she fills her days as best as she can: brushing her teeth and entertaining herself with the few items in her trusty bag. She wonders: can it be enough to make today a happy day?
It is a hybrid. This is a prerecorded film of the play Happy Days, filmed without an audience on a stage in a theater: the wild project in New York City’s East Village. The script and stage directions from the play have remained unchanged.
Happy Days was broadcasted for the final time on March 28th, 2021. For information about educational viewings or liscensing, please reach out to the director/producer Nico Krell. Click here to contact.
The film is 1 hour and 40 minutes, with an opportunity to pause the performance at the interval approximately 1 hour in.
Nico Krell is an Uruguayan-American director of plays, musicals, operas, performance art, and, once, a theatrical feast. He is the child of two homebuilders, which made him a child of the housing crisis of the early 2000s. By the time he graduated high school, he had lived in fourteen homes across three continents. Now, his work aims to honestly examine the dilemmas inherent in most Americans as visitors in search of a home. Nico is a graduate of Princeton University, where he was the first student to major in Performance Studies. For his cross-disciplinary art and research, he was awarded the Louis Sudler Prize, Princeton’s highest honor in the creative arts. Through the Princeton University Atelier program, Nico collaborated with Jennine Willette of Third Rail Projects, Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld of Fiasco Theater, Hannah Bos, Oliver Butler, and Paul Thureen of The Debate Society, and John Doyle. His recent works include: The Crucible, Mad Forest, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Ghost Quartet, Water Play, The Baltimore Waltz, and The Seven Deadly Sins.
Tessa Albertson is a native New Yorker and has been acting professionally since the age of 11. At the ripe age of 13, she landed the role of Teen Fiona in Shrek the Musical on Broadway and has gone on to do various roles on The Good Wife and Law & Order: SVU but is best known for the role of Caitlin Miller on Younger, a TV show starring Hilary Duff and Sutton Foster (created by Sex and the City’s, Darren Star). She appeared in The Low Road at the Public Theater in 2018 during her Sophomore year at Princeton, her alma mater where she graduated from in 2020 with a BA in English and a Minor in American Studies and Theater. For her thesis titled Feminine Products, she wrote a lip-sync play about the failures of mainstream white feminism tangential to the role that pop-music plays in fostering a sense of delusion in a woman's idea of romance and stability. Tessa currently appears in Manic Monologues, an interactive remote theater experience on view on the McCarter Theatre website (co-produced by 24 Hour Plays).
wild project provides an eco-friendly theater and gallery where the artists and space nurture each other. wild project places the utmost importance on engendering a climate that supports the artists and to cultivating artists who commit to artistic excellence, enrich the community and promote social equity. Notable productions at wild project include Heidi Schreck’s What The Constitution Means To Me (Clubbed Thumb, 2017), Samuel D. Hunter's A Bright New Boise (Partial Comfort, 2010), Lloyd Suh's American Hwangap (Ma-Yi & Play Company, 2009), Aaron Posner's Life Sucks (Wheelhouse, 2019), Leegrid Stevens' Spaceman (Loading Dock Theatre, 2018 & 2019), and Adam Szymkowicz' My Base and Scurvy Heart (Studio 42, 2011). Ongoing series at wild project include the East Village Queer Film Festival, Fresh Fruit Festival, and Clubbed Thumb's Summerworks. More info: thewildproject.org. Instagram: @wildprojectnyc. Twitter: @wildprojectnyc.