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October 10 — Patriotism

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Sans paroles II

Act Without Words II is a short mime play by Samuel Beckett, the second one after Act Without Words I. Like many of Beckett's works, the piece was originally written in French (Acte sans paroles II), then translated into English by Beckett himself. Written in the late 1950s it was first performed at the Calderon Press Institute in Oxford directed by John McGrath. The first publication was in New Departures 1, Summer 1959.

Two sacks and a neat pile of clothes sit on a low, "violently lit"[4] platform at the back of a stage. Both sacks contain a man; B is on the left, A on the right.

A long pole (described in the text as a "goad") enters from the right, prods the sack containing A to awaken him to his daily routine, and then exits. After needing a second prod A finally emerges. He is slovenly and disorganised. He gobbles pills, prays, dresses randomly, nibbles a carrot, and promptly "spits it out with disgust".  "He is a moper, a dreamer, perhaps a  poet. His principal activity, without apparent purpose, is to carry the filled sack stage left and crawl back into his own which he does leaving the sack containing B now vulnerable to the goad.