MAY 2, 2012 – FIRST POST OF THE DAY: PART TWO OF SYRPER’S REVIEW OF THE ABREACT THEATRE’S PRODUCTION OF “ENDGAME”. Scroll down for the first part and then, obviously, scroll back to read the next part. I can’t believe I had to tell my readers that, but, it just shows to go ya that you can’t take anything for granted. No offense.
I must admit that I’ve seen more inspiring faces. He had a face only a mother could love.
Samuel Beckett lived most of his literary life in France and, then, for vacation, in mostly French-speaking Tunisia. It is all too clear that 20th Century Gallic existentialism, promoted so famously by Sartre, Camus and DeBeauvoir, captured his imagination and vectored him toward literature that broadcast a plaintive message of hopelessness in the face of ontological absurdity. But the absurd can also be funny in a cruel way. To be blunt, once you get over the idea that there is no afterlife; that your soul is only something to explain why you move and think in an individual way; that all living things go to putrescence and decrepitude, you can laugh at man in a metaphorical garbage can with kitty litter spread to absorb his waste.
David Schoen, as Hamm, is a cripple in a wheelchair, who depends on Clov to care for him. There is a suggestion that Clov is his adopted son – a son who once loved him but who evinces a desire to depart the nest for some unknown, unmentionable place – probably another claustrophobic room in Beckett’s universe of eternal disappointment. Both Clov and Lucky (in Godot), are slaves to men whose needs appear to be the only motive for remaining slaves. Clov takes care of the cripple, Hamm. Lucky tends to Pozzo both before and after his blindness. It seems that the human need for propinquity conquers the need for freedom or freedom of choice. Free will exists in Beckett’s works only as a second option in a world where loneliness gives over to despair, a despair that can only be mitigated by the warmth of a familiar face.
The dialogue is handled deftly and without the sometimes honeyed hamminess you get in other versions. The play is announced at the beginning as a “one act” lasting about 90 minutes. In truth, it lasts about one hour and 45 minutes. You are warned about “bladder control” – the necessity of charging to one of two singularly residential-type bathrooms lest you find yourself in trouble when the lights are dimmed and a short walk across rows of old theatre seats, divans, armchairs and the like, becomes a feat worthy of Gene Kelly – a pratfall-laden event appropriate for slapstick that will land you in the local hospital or holding cell.
I had a great time. You should try to see it before its last show on May 5, 2012. There’s such little time left. It was great. The director, John Jakary, no slouch he, told us, after the cast had left the stage, that he was thinking of Ionesco for his next production. We will be waiting anxiously for that.
I always mention my companions before I close theatre reviews. I was accompanied by my wife, Aida, who appeared befuddled by the goings-on; Mark the Brit who has become my Sancho Panza in all matters histrionic; John Kubrick (no relation to the famous “Kubrick” and, by the by, it’s just a nickname); Jim and Linda, husband and wife retirees who enjoy a night out at the theatre. We missed Greg (a/k/a “Sam Whiskers”” who was a no-show and Mark the Professor who has eschewed our company of late.
We dined at the Senor Lopez taqueria that night and had a jolly good time. Look forward to more.
Just one more look at Mr. Beckett before we close this post.