The Chymical Wedding of Samuel Beckett

There is to be an odd little celebration this month, in Folkestone of all places, to commemorate its visitation by, and subsequent nuptials therein of, Samuel Beckett.

Beckett married his long-term partner, as we now know due to a series of excellent biographies, in curious circumstances. He was embroiled in a serious relationship with a BBC producer at the time.

Samuel Beckett with his wife Suzanne Déchevaux-Dumesnil. | Samuel beckett,  Playwright, Samuel
Beckett with Mme Beckett

Ostensibly, marrying Suzanne Déchevaux-Dumesnil in March 1961 was intended to achieve the aim of ensuring her inheritance of his copyrights. As it happened, she ended up dying about six months before him, in 1989.

The curiosity pertains to Beckett’s decision to marry after nearly three decades of relationship, at the very moment when he was most involved in a separate relationship with an entirely different woman.

The organisers of the festival in Folkestone aim to give voice to those surrounding the events of the marriage, including the perspective of a journalist thrown off the scent, and a witness to the wedding itself.

It’s fun, original and embedded theatre, doing what theatre can do best, which is dramatise our stories back to ourselves. Samuel Beckett’s mysterious marriage took place in Folkestone, and it is great that they can now include this odd intrusion from the world of absurdist theatre and continenal intellectuals as one of their own stories, for it is that too.