Beckett, Samuel, 1906-1989. Happy Days.
Though Whitelaw and Beckett worked well together in the past and were close friends, this production, which Beckett directed, tried that friendship. Whitelaw, as Winnie, had memorized her (many) lines ahead of time, not knowing Beckett had made changes to the text and had rethought the Winnie character significantly, creating a tense and confusing atmosphere for Whitelaw. Finally, Beckett agreed to take an extended break from the set. The rehearsals went smoother, the performances were received well by critics and audiences, and the relieved playwright and actress resumed their friendship.
Royal Court Theatre
Royal Court Theatre, London
Actors in Beckett's Plays exhibit case
To Tom Bishop, 18 July 1979: "All ended well in London. The only performance I saw was the first preview, from the sound box in the gods. 2nd act particularly good. I saw only one review. The Gauardian. Favourable. Big success with public. Last week queues all the way to tube station, according to Jocelyn. For the BBC TV recording poor Billie was suffering from some throat & sinus viral infection but got through somehow through sheer will power. Have just heard from Tristram how impressed they all were by her performance." -The Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1966-1989, pp. 506-507