Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Endgame by Samuel Beckett (5/5) [re-read]

Wiki says: Endgame, by Samuel Beckett, is a one-act play with four characters, written in a style associated with the Theatre of the Absurd. It was originally written in French (entitled Fin de partie); as was his custom, Beckett himself translated it into English. The play was first performed in a French-language production at the Royal Court Theatre in London, opening on 3 April 1957. It is commonly considered, along with such works as Waiting for Godot, to be among Beckett's most important works.

I say: This was yet another re-read for uni and I loved and understood more this time around. As with a lot of Beckett’s plays, it requires the audience to play close attention to pick up on little titbits here and there in order to piece the puzzle together.
Or just enjoy it for what it is without much thought.

The horror...

Endgame only has four parts; Hamm who is blind and unable to stand; his servant Clov who is unable to sit; His parents Nagg and Nell who have no legs and live in dustbins in the same room. As this is a very absurd play it’s difficult to give a clear synopsis. Hamm and Clov seem to go through the same thing day after day, and although they appear to hate each other, they also stay together for some reason. The parents pop their heads out of their dustbins a few times, for various reasons, and we are never told why each character has some physical deformity.
For my essay I had to explain how and why Hamm and Clov suffer existentially and that is what I think makes this play so brilliant; that juxtaposition between knowing that there’s only one way out and still being unable to take it. I am not going to go into any philosophical ponderings here, but I will say that although the play is rather bleak and sad, there are a few humoristic moments in it that always make me chuckle.

If anything, it’s a great conversational piece; and sympathising with either Hamm or Clov brings me closer to my own thoughts about life and what makes it worth living – and that is always a plus for me.

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