Online Hubbub: Endgame

Let us know what you thought!

While directing a German production of  Endgame, Beckett told his actors, “I would like as much laughter as possible in this play.  It is a playful piece.”  Did anything amuse you about the characters’ situation?

Please feel free to share any other thoughts on the production.

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101 Responses to Online Hubbub: Endgame

  1. DRK says:

    Great!! Thanks.

  2. Dan Solomon says:

    The play was brilliantly directed and performed. I’ve seen it three times now and this was easily the finest performance. No idea what it is about (death anbd Beckett’s loss of family and depression and so forth aside) but neither does anyone else, which is probably what it is about. Enjoyed it immensely!

  3. Jacquie Carter says:

    The play was wonderful! It brought Beckett’s written word to life! The acting, direction and production were fantastic – I enjoyed it greatly.

  4. Julia says:

    I found lots of the horrible mess to also be horribly funny – 3-legged stuffed dogs, parent in cans, boarded windows letting in the light, windows on the same wall having different views. It is an erudite, amusing horror show – wonderfully acted and directed.

  5. Larry C says:

    This was a rich and satisfying production. The box set was perfect [Editor’s Note: A small amount of text was removed here to avoid a potential “spoiler.”]. (The uniform lighting also seemed appropriate, though I found it somewhat wearing on my eyes.) What made the production work so well, though, was the timing of the ensemble, as I would have expected from four great actors who have worked together so often. Tommy Derrah and Will Lebow both created fully realized characters who seemed concrete yet timeless; their patter sparkled when it should have, and their soliloquies seemed emotionally right even when they were incomprehensible. I think that even Beckett would have enjoyed this one.

  6. Susan W. says:

    My favorite Will LeBow performance ever. Bravo!

  7. Mary S says:

    Wonderful and fun. I would love more insight into the meaning of the play, but, as one gentleman near me said, perhaps the lack of understanding is part of it’s meaning. The actors were wonderful, and, yes, I did laugh frequently. I think their delivery of the lines was absolutely dead on.

  8. Dennis G. says:

    For me, the curious interest of this play resided in seeing how being restricted to the author’s directions would affect the ART’s production. I have been, on the whole, disappointed with recent stagings that strayed too far away from the text in favor of updating and the search for greater relevance. After all, these were excellent plays before; why then feel the need to “improve” them?

    I was pleasantly surprised by the excellent casting and performances of _Endgame_. It is a play that I know well and may even pose deeper critical questions than _Godot_. The textual humor was certainly evident, and it was precisely that humor that was needed to make a first connection with the audience. However, it is Beckett’s deeper concerns that one takes home from the theater and that are not at all harmed by an adherence to his authorial dramatic esthetic.

  9. David cohen says:

    A great production of Endgame. The acting and staging were perfect. It’s a two hour drive for us, and well worth it, as usual. The timing of the actors clarifies many of the lines.

    Thanks

  10. Candace Barrington says:

    Last spring, we saw BAM’s production of Endgame with John Turturro and like ART’s much better. We were able to understand every word spoken in today’s performance, and the production provided a clear, dramatic arc without oversimplifying. Hence, the play was filled with humor engendered by the context–and not just simply slapstick. We, too, traveled over two hours each way and don’t regret the effort.

  11. Peggy Carlan says:

    A near perfect production of a thought provoking play that is very heavy but filled with humor.

  12. roger says:

    Funny, the last production I saw Will LeBow in was Animals and Plants about eight years ago (I’ve been out of Boston for a while). That was a play about two guys trapped in a room pondering relationships in life and the meaning of it all. LeBow was great in both. Endgame drags at times during the production, but leaves you with enough to think about that you’ll like it better in hindsight.

  13. Raffael de Gruttola says:

    Granted this is a difficult play to produce with the many stage directions that Beckett imposes. There’s a case to be made that a theatre director should have some liberty to exercise his or her approach in the design of a production. The classics remain alive based on new interpretations employing all the new techniques available. What I didn’t like about this production is that Nell and Nagg are never on stage, albeit, in ashcans to react to Hamm and Clov. They become invisible. What happens is a one dimensional
    interpretation of this tragicomedy. This I believe would displease Beckett no end.

  14. Julie Fraser says:

    We really enjoyed this production – even the friend I went with who generally likes things exactly as they were written. The core ART repertory actors are always fabulous, and this is where they shine the most – the combination of comedy and tragedy that really makes you reflect on life and death. And as others have said, resonate on parts that you really don’t fully understand. Beautiful.

  15. IVL says:

    I haven’t read this play before seeing it produced, and it took me some time getting into the play. Once that happened, though, I was “riding” it and enjoying it thoroughly. Derrah’s opening pantomime with the steps was fabulous and set a tone. Overall, the joy of seeing the four greatest ART actors together having a go at a great material cannot be overpraised. Reflecting on the play a few days later brings to memory the subtleties and the nuances that haven’t fully registered in the course of the play, which is a nice feeling, rather like an aftertaste of a rare wine. Altogether brilliant – the vintage ART!

  16. David Barry says:

    Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame” at the American Repertory Theater is best described as a wickedly witty Irish comedy about human isolation, suffering, death, and the meaninglessness of existence. It was wonderful! It was produced in a way faithful to Beckett’s very detailed descriptions and prescriptions, skillfully directed, and splendidly acted.
    I wish you had asked me my opinion of the A. R. T.’s production of Chekhov’s “The Seagull” which I thought outrageously quartered and disemboweled,its vitals scattered on the stage like so much irrelevant trash. The crimes lay not with the actors but with the production and direction. It was an example of how self-deluded narcissists in love with their own images and likenesses can reduce the time-tested work of a great writer to a playground on which to indulge themselves.

  17. David Treadwell says:

    Well acted? Yes. We’ll directed? Yes. Worth going to? Not for me. I didn’t care a whit about any of the characters. The play’s not funny. There’s no redemption. No humanity. No spark. “Oh, woe is me; oh, sad is life; nothing matters; then we die.”I do appreciate deep plays not monochromatic downers. Call me unsophisticated, but I apparently I wasn’t alone, based on comments I overhead from other audience members after the play. Sorry.

  18. JD says:

    Beautiful production. I was glad to see that the set was spare and the direction focused on the relationships between the characters rather than a grand reinvention of the script. The actors imbued the characters with such life in a play about death. It was wonderful.

  19. Marvelous production. Brings new appreciation for Beckett.

  20. Elissa R says:

    My mom and I enjoyed the play very much and talked about it over dinner afterwards. I thought the set was interesting and the acting was very good. It was typical Beckett. There is a dark humor in the bleakness of their lives as it seems to be a choice they’ve made. There are certainly those who resign themselves to existing vs. living and each one’s misery feeds off the other.

  21. Kenneth McIntosh says:

    I enjoyed Endgame very much. The acting was excellent, and there was a minimum of intrusion by the director (a feature that has unfortunately been a common problem with ART productions over the years), allowing the play to be appreciated for what it was and what Beckett intended it to be, rather than what the director intended it to be.

  22. Bruce Magnuson says:

    An interesting, thought provoking play and I agree the sparse set kept the focus on the characters. They were all good, but I have to say Will LeBow was exceptional. Not that I want to see it three times, but I do want to read more about the play now that I’ve seen it. I haven’t been to the ART in awhile and I’m glad I went. Truly a treasure of the Boston area.

  23. Steve Wolfberg says:

    I thought the play was very well acted and very boring. I found very little humor or any other redeeming features.

  24. Scott says:

    Endgame is what theatre should be. It was funny and then painful and finally beautiful.

    This is the only Beckett play worth producing.

  25. Steve Ledbetter says:

    I knew the acting was going to be first-rate, given the wonderful cast of core ART principals, but I was very curious about the production and its effect, after having seen the much-debated Joanne Akalaitis production at ART some years ago.
    I found the play as haunting and mysterious as ever, but also very funny and gripping. I loved the set and the staging and the surprise at the very end, about which I’ll say no more here.

  26. LH says:

    It is Thursday night and I just came back from the theater. It was a smooth, professional production, but I was left with a vague sense of something subtle missing. The interaction and rhythm between Hamm and Clov seemed slightly off. I really was not sure if the problem was in my head or were the actors having a slightly off night. What did you think?

  27. Rudy says:

    The acting and the staging were superb. The writing was poetic. The play had it’s funny moments, despite the message of how life can disappoint, leaving each of us lonely and alone. The “Endgame” was poignantly sad, and worth seeing.

  28. Marc Spisto says:

    I did not enjoy or understand the play. While the the reviews and comments indicate that I am in the minority here, the production was nothing like I expected.

  29. JC says:

    I think the production quality and acting were very fine as they were the other times we’ve visited ART (Oedipus and Being Earnest). I must admit I didn’t have as much appreciation for the wit of the story. Seemed more depressing than comic to me for the most part. A few witty bits here and there, but overshadowed by the impotency of man theme. Not what I was expecting, but I don’t know Beckett very well.

  30. NH says:

    Saw the Friday night production. Perfect set, wonderful ensemble of actors, often funny, moving, deeply symbolic. But perhaps, as is inevitable, the script a bit dated, as if its originality has worn off, so many years later. Great evening, though.

  31. Meg newhouse says:

    I can’t improve on what’s gone before: superb acting and directing of a difficult play. The comic element is essential in Beckett’s bleak world. Really enjoyed the talkback after Sat matinee, 3/21, with Will L and Christine?? , the dramaturge.

  32. Allan Green says:

    A masterful interpretation of the twinned pathos and humor of the human condition that only sharpens at the dying of the light. The performance evoked a strong sense of how memory and distortion of memory are constantly at war shaping relationships.

  33. Frieda Bubb says:

    A highly professional production,needless to say, but without much heart. Will Lebow was an awfully hearty-seeming Hamm, with more than a little too much Groucho in his delivery. For his part, Thomas Derrah seemed as if he had just completed a master class in advanced clowning and was demonstrating his new tricks. My hunch is that they would have been better with the lead roles reversed. Only Nagg and Nell had the crisp diction that such a brilliantly wordy play requires, but they seemed altogether too healthy and well-fed. But, put four fine actors together in a play of this quality and there are bound to be excellent moments, and there were. But it would have been both more dramatic and funnier if we had been encouraged to feel anything for the characters.

  34. Well acted, creative set design contributed to a dramatic ending. Excellent crisp delivery of dialog. Also, thanks for the well thought out playbill. The ‘critical comments’ provided a much-appreciated background to the symbolism in the play.

  35. Donna says:

    An amazing piece. Will LeBow rocks! Thanks for another great night at the theater.

  36. Jane McHan says:

    This production was outstanding. I liked the interpretation and the presentation appeared to me to be almost perfect. JM

  37. R.Zimmermann says:

    If to follow Becket’s stage directions for this production of Endgame was labor intensive and exhausting for the A.R.T., it was well worth it. This was a great production. Bravo to Mark Stern, Will LeBow, Thomas Derrah, Karen MacDonald and Remo Airaldi. It was a riveting mind-altering performance.
    Stage directions punctuate and underline the music of words and ideas embodied in this play. They highlight the repetition, the pacing and timing, the irony and humor, the listening and the silence, that invigorate this play. To edit the stage directions, as in the 1984 production, is to edit the presentation of the words themselves. Since this production adheres to the script, and the acting is superb, the play comes alive.
    There were minor variations in the set and stage directions but these did not detract from the overall direction of the script. This is perhaps the most challenging and exhilarating play of the 20th century. It was rewarding to be in the audience. Thank you for bringing it to Cambridge.

  38. Victor says:

    LOVED YOUR ENDGAME Production! Just loved it. It was brilliant and funny. You do Becket PROUD!

  39. Sig Van Raan says:

    I did not feel entertained, nor amused. I laughed perhaps once or twice, unlike most of the audience.
    I felt more like I was witnessing the private and intimate moments of a man, who’s imminent death became an episode of Abbot and Costello meet Sartre. I was mesmerized by it all. I got the metaphors, the pathos, the despair and the Irishness. I believe my own discomfort was intended by the playwright. I felt a sort of soothing relief at the end. It was briliant- the casting, the lighting, the absurdity of the situations and the inevitable confrontation of self. I did not feel entertained. I left the theatre
    appreciating Beckett’s contribution to the inner existential dialogue we all live with. And after a moment or two with that dialogue, went to the nearest bar and ordered a scotch. BRAVO A.R.T. – nailed nicely!

  40. Carrie Braverman says:

    Acting and direction were both very thoughtful and well-executed. Amazing to experience such ironic humor about such a dismal circumstance.

  41. Anthony says:

    I have now seen this production twice (on Saturday and Thursday). It’s one of the ART’s finest, on a par with its 1980’s version of Godot, and light years better than the Akalaitis production,which I hated. My wife and I have been ART subscribers since the second season, so we’ve seen Endgame’s actors in many performances. All four outdid themselves in this production. The minimalist direction and set were close to perfect. A great work of art in an outstanding production.

  42. Stephen says:

    Honestly. We hated it. It wasn’t the least bit enjoyable for us. In fact, we were talking after the show and we could not remember the last time we saw a show at the ART that we actually enjoyed. We have historically purchased season tickets every year, but this is our last year.

    Cheers…

  43. We loved the production. It’s hard to identify why we laughed so much because the overall subject was pretty depressing. But, there was an absurdity to it that made it funny. The acting was fantastic, particularly Will Lebow and Thomas Derrah.

  44. gayle speck says:

    superb!

  45. Ajit says:

    Very well done. A great recovery after “The Seagull” and the senior resident actors always work so splendidly together.

  46. Janet says:

    We thought this was a super production. There was no standing ovation, but I hope the performers could feel the audience’s rapt attention throughout the play and also our great appreciation for their work at the end. All elements of this artistic endeavor worked! Thanks.

  47. Ray says:

    Well after the first five minutes nobody laughed (and the biggest laugh was when the first garbage can opened). Eventually the whistle woke up quite a few members of the audience. It actually was funny to watch the heads jerking up towards the end whenever the whistle blew. It was not helped by the dying patient looking healthier that his caregiver. One of the two worst days of theater I have seen in scores of years attending productions around the world.

  48. john says:

    Having seen both ART productions, I preferred this one. It was less Apocalyptic, and I was able to see the connection to Waiting for Godot more clearly. Maybe it does make sense to follow the prescriptive script after all.

  49. tony and elsa hill says:

    A first class production. The highlight of the season for us.

  50. caroline ready says:

    This was not the first production of Endgame that I have seen.
    As usual with the ART, the sets are well done,and there are some funny props and comments, but the plot of “helplessness” is most depressing.
    The only able character who is tired of being miss-used as a servant abandons all the other characters, leaving them to their inevitable doom.

    Not a happy scenerio at all!

    Caroline ready

  51. George Frode says:

    I normally don’t attend the after-play discussions, because the plays are sometimes longer than I would wish. But this one I did attend, and Remo and Karen made interesting comments that younger audiences seem to laugh more than older audiences at this production. As an older viewer (62) and my friend (66), we found it delightfully funny, especially about the usual aging topics like habits, cultural norms, and family vendettas. Perhaps we’re not yet over the hill. A tribute to the author and to the players/director of this production. Will Lebow and Tom Derrah were great! And Remo and Karen were wonderfully “gone,” but not forgotten. Five stars to you all!

  52. Carolyn Gregory says:

    This production of Endgame was enlightening, tightly woven together and riveting. I had not seen any Beckett productions for at least 20 years (he is not currently in vogue) and this time around, became SO drawn in by the sheer poetry of the language and the depth of the existentialism. There were lots of laughs for me — all four actors shone, but particularly Will LeBow – but the pathos went down about a mile deep and was profound. An excellent production as I also recently found to be the case with ART’s The Seagull. Thank you for an excellent afternoon at the theatre.

  53. Sandra Farrar says:

    It was beautifully acted, well staged but frankly, ho-hum. I saw no comedy – just shallow people endlessly trapped in their lives and lacking any vision or qualities that could bring sympathy (or enlightenment) from the audience.

  54. Jay Shetterly says:

    I thought that this was a great presentation. The actors were superb, all of them, but Will LeBow at his best. In some plays he can drift into playing himself, that certain style of diction and gesture he has developed. Tonight he was direct, not stylized, and very effective. The spare set was very good. For me the first third of the show was engaging,interesting, and funny. The middle third was interesting for the psychological and philosophical issues. By the last third it is all too depressing and tedious. I was eager for the end and I realized that I do not like Beckett’s play as much as I used to. The ART performance is great but cannot hide the fact that it is not a great play.

  55. Russ Hunt says:

    I’ve seen a number of productions of _Endgame_, and this was the best — but not by much. Lighting was perfect; the set was wonderful (and I can see that if I said one of the things that made it wonderful it would edited out as a “spoiler”). I’ve admired all four actors in earlier productions — especially Will LeBow as Mueller in _Full Circle_ and Karen MacDonald as Mother Courage — and I wasn’t disappointed in their performances. I do think I might have urged LeBow to let Hamm’s lines linger longer; he seemed a bit rushed to me. But in general the production was well worth the seven-hour drive to see it (we’ll do something else in Boston, but if that were all we were doing — and it _is_, in fact, the reason we chose to come now — it would be worth it).

    Thank you. I wish I were a little closer to ART; we’d be here more often.

  56. Russ Hunt says:

    An additional thought, having read through all the comments. I’m surprised that no one mentioned the odd relevance the play has acquired as our society faces the ultimate end game, watching the globe heating up and life evaporating. Every time Clov looked out those wonderful boarded up windows (nice touch), I thought about the last remnants of a society huddled around the Arctic Ocean waiting for the hydrogen sulfide to start bubbling up . . .

  57. Barbara Boyce says:

    This is the second ART production I have seen and I still remember the first one as if it were yesterday. This production was brilliantly produced, directed and acted. The play itself is black and the humor is gallows humor. It is a timeless play, and will be just as apt in another 25 years. I Can’t say I enjoyed the play, but I certainly was left emotionally spent; so it achieved it’s objective.

  58. lyfeform says:

    Let me take a SWAG (scientific wild assed guess). To the few of you who didn’t like the play at all or who couldn’t see anything humorous about it, were you offended when Hamm, referring to God, said: “The bastard!! He doesn’t exist.” and Clov responded, “Not yet.”?

    Thought so.

  59. Ray says:

    Not in the slightest. As a believer in all the gods and goddesses, the concept of one universal omnipotent and omniscient, concerned and involved being offends me even more, but still not as much as this production did. Note, I never said Beckett’s play was bad, quite the contrary.

  60. JC says:

    Your SWAG with emphasis on the ‘A’ is bull crap. How generous and fundamentalist of you to both pose a question and answer it for others too.

  61. Diana says:

    This was the first time I saw Endgame. The staging and actors way surpassed my expectations. The discussion afterwards particulary the history of the 1984 production made the play even more thought provoking. I know I shall be replaying scenes in my mind’s eye for days to come. I wish there was a DVD available with this cast. And as grandmother I know I shall never look at Oscar the Grouch the same way again. Last year it was Julius Ceasar. This year it’s Endgame. You enrich the mind and spirit.

  62. Lisa M says:

    My theatre partner and I are still not sure if we liked the play or if we hated it. We both enjoyed the acting and the staging. The theme was sad, cold, and depressing and yet I did laugh. For me, I never felt that connection I want to feel when I go to the theatre; it just wasn’t there for me with this show. P.S. I saw a few negative comments about The Seagull. I LOVED that production! I’d see it again in a heartbeat. I guess that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla.

  63. Rick F says:

    Really enjoyed it, the cast did a great job and the final trick with the staging was breathtaking,

  64. John Bernard says:

    This was our third “Endgame” too–the other two in Houston–and by far the most successful. This was largely due to Derrah’s Hamm, who managed to invent the perfect gestures to externalize the anguish Beckett’s dialogue fosters in his audience. I had never thought of the play as “moving,” but we were very moved by this production.

  65. Andy says:

    A marvelous play — clever, profound, hilarious — and one of the best productions by the ART actors in years. Will Lebow and Thomas Derrah were outstanding. I hope to go back and see it again.

  66. Andy says:

    A marvelous play — clever, profound, hilarious — and one of the best productions by the ART actors in years. Will Lebow and Thomas Derrah were outstanding. I hope to go back and see it again.

  67. Carol says:

    I found the play well acted but boring, also. Too depressing for me. I thought it would be funnier, like Waiting for Godot. I found no humor or anything to care about it in. My husband, on the other hand, was in tears by the end (this is totally out of character for him) and stood up (with a few others) to give the actors an ovation. I guess we are a microcosm of all the comments above!

  68. Steven says:

    I enjoyed the production. But I wish it was both funnier and darker, and more overwhelming. I was never really transported, except for the opening and closing apparitions.

  69. JGH says:

    May I say; this play changed my life. I could not hold back tears at the end of it. I turned to my wife and said,”this is theatre.” If ART kept this show going for the next year even, I would pay to see it every weekend.
    Sincerely,
    JGH

  70. Richard says:

    This was an outstanding production of a play which has been a favorite of mine since the Sixties. I loved again the comic routines the actors go through to keep at bay the appalling reality. It called for the close ensemble work which is the strength of this company. The four actors were on top of their game, as if they enjoyed the discipline of Beckett’s sparse text. Here we saw an appreciation of the words, not always a strong point with ART, which as a company is inclined to go off on some dramaturge-inspired riff, which can be so counterproductive, pace The Seagull. Beckett knew what he was doing when he restricted actors and directors to following his own stage directions. The addition of the final dislocation of the set, the director’s one final act of rebellion, was effective, it only added a somewhat superfluous underlining.

  71. Patrick O'Shea says:

    This is why I have a subscription the ART every year. To see the Repertory Company in a play is to see theatre at its best. This was so good compared to one man shows or some of your other offerings that I don’t know why each play cannot put the Company on stage and let them do their magic. There are many great plays out there ready for your touch.

  72. Mark Pierce says:

    This the the second ART production I have attended. I saw No Exit at the Zero Arrow awhile back, and found it excellent. As with Sarte, I don’t think there can be any ultimate or final interpretation of this work, it is intentionally open-ended. A few points stood out for me, however. I found the stage itself remarkable in its spareness, calling to attention what was actually on it. It was somewhat reminiscent of a skull, with the two windows at the back as eyes, perhaps implying that the characters were representative of memory.

    The acting was understated, affording a more sophisticated comedy, without falling into slapstick.

    Beckett was a known chess affectionado, and the endgame is a series of moves when the outcome ( here, death ) is already known. I believe this production lent itself to recreating exactly that–a man playing out his last series of moves, recalling life in all its intricacy– comic, tragic, melodramatic,human.

  73. Michael McLaughlin says:

    Personally, I feel that in my final days…hopefully not as bleak as these characters…there is laughter everywhere. Because for me that is the only way to approach life, and therefore death. Does that mean I was not moved deeply? On the contrary, only an Irishman could show how much deeper laughter tells a moral than lecturing or tears.

  74. Michael McLaughlin says:

    Personally, I feel that in my final days…hopefully not as bleak as these characters…there is laughter everywhere. Because for me that is the only way to approach life, and therefore death. Does that mean I was not moved deeply? On the contrary, only an Irishman could show how much deeper laughter tells a moral than lecturing or tears.

  75. Rich Lamon says:

    This was a first-rate production. Although I hadn’t seen a production of “Endgame” prior to this, I can’t imagine a more fulfilling, exciting encounter with this fascinating play. I was most struck by how a strong performance demonstrates Beckett’s humanity, a dimension easily obscured, in a reading of the text, by his more familiar “metaphysical vaudeville”. The balance of sensibility and speculation is a delicate one, and necessary, lest the play collapse into a simple “cri de coeur” of nihilism; in this production, it was deftly accomplished.

  76. A Gambler says:

    Ololo! I like what is written here!!

  77. Katherine Calzada says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the show, particularly the set, the staging, and the movement of the actors. The actors certainly conveyed the rhythm of Beckett’s prose and portrayed themselves as flawed, yet sympathetic characters.

  78. Jean Keith says:

    The performance was so strong. Clov’s physical acting was exceptionally engaging, the creative set was –as it so often is at the A.R.T.– really worked to give a boxed-in feeling and the walls moving out effectively underscored Hamm’s isolation at the end.

    The trash cans were creepy and fun. The cast was oustanding, including one of my longtime favorite actors, Karen McDonald as Nell.

    Thanks for a fine evening!

  79. Ilya Libenzon says:

    I like the performance, but think that the actors overemphasized the comical aspect of the play, which should be more subtle and come implicitly from the dialogues rather than from acting-at least, when I read Becket’s play I was under impression that the tragic/philosophical theme is central and the comical is secondary. The synergy among the actors was decent but not superb resulting in sluggish moments and unnecesary pauses from time to time. I thought that more effective moment was the mother’s not answering from her ashcan. Overall, I would recommend the performance, a rare exquisite event in the Boston’s theatrical life.

  80. Acheson Callaghan says:

    A fine performance of a brilliant play. Unlike many recent ART performances, this one trusted the play, and did not indulge in self-regarding production values. The performances were fine, with special note of the timing of the dialogue, which is an essential element in creating the wittiness that Beckett sought. My only doubt was about the perhaps excessive reliance on physical comedy by Clov, but this was a defensible decision given the immobility of Hamm

  81. Lynn A. says:

    My husband and I are from Berkeley, CA, and frequent the Berkeley Rep Theater, so we were excited to see a play here in Cambridge. It far exceeded our expectations! Each performer was compelling, adding such dimension to the play. Funny, thought-provoking, and incredibly sad all at the same time. I highly recommend it!! We will return to see more performances based on this A++ experience! Thank you ART!

  82. CT says:

    I laughed all night! Will LeBow’s subtle and varied line readings were so smart. All the actors superb. Loved it.

  83. Voli Dublino says:

    Vеll, not perfесt рost, but I likеd it аnd that is thе main thing. 😉
    I am Voli Dublino

  84. Moira says:

    I thought that the play was one of the best things I have seen at the ART in recent years. The acting was great and the repertory players really shone. Messrs. Derragh and Lebow inhabited their characters so effectively that for a few minutes I did not recognize them. The play itself is such a wonderfully multi-faceted and layered piece that there was lots to discuss afterwards. The comedic moments worked so well because of the superb timing of the actors. Good job!!!

  85. Fernando says:

    Fantastic performance. If you know a little about Endgame, you possibly consider it a cliche example of absurdist theater. But in the hands of this company, not so. From the very start the bleak setting and the bizarre characters are infused with believability. The natural, comic delivery draws you in without thinking, and you laugh. But by the end you arrive at pity, and fear — for the end-game portrayed can happen to any of us.

    The touch that this company has with the material is superb. Will LeBow as Hamm declares, “Is he crying? Then he’s alive.” This bleak summation is made just lightly enough that we are never sure if the characters are aware of its irony. Then they went on, but I myself was stunned by the the idea we all make such tragic observations, yet do nothing about them.

    Bravo! to the Company, and Bravo! to ART for putting this on,

  86. Sam says:

    Not bad. I thought it lacked the ART “spark” of many past performances, and so didn’t give us any new insight into this play. My wife thought it didn’t bring out as much of the darkness and humor as a production she’d seen some years ago in England, and particularly as much of the father/son connection of Clov and Hamm. It was a good production, but perhaps a bit overly academic and insufficiently emotional. Still an enjoyable, interesting evening.

  87. Dale Copps says:

    It was a commendable production, well-staged and tolerably acted. Nagg and Nell I thought were particularly well realized. My one reservation regards language, which is as paramount in Beckett as it is in Shakespeare, Shaw, or Wilde. Beckett’s language received short shrift in this production, with lines garbled, words lost at the ends of lines, and others often stepped on. The fact that a line is grandiloquent (e.g., Moments for nothing, now as always…”) does not merit its being tossed off casually. This merely disrespects the language and does not pay homage to the irony of its context.

  88. PZ says:

    Finally, a play worth seeing at the ART! One where, as others have pointed out, the director was not hell-bent on putting his mark on the text, but in adjusting the delivery, in allowing the playwright to shine. Bravo!

    There were two liberties taken in stage setting that are worth considering. The first is that the text depicts the windows as small and high, as one might expect for a basement; this properly motivates the need for Clov’s ladder. The ART’s production had full-sized windows that were very nearly boarded up, with two self-conscious planks missing near the top. While this adds to the text (who boarded up the windows? why not remove one of the boards at normal viewing height to look out?) it detracts from it as well (loss of the post-apocalyptic, specifically post-nuclear, interpretation).

    The second is in the very final seconds. I won’t create a spoiler for any potential viewers, but would suggest to the director that SLOWER would be a more powerful effect. The lighting through the final moments was superlative.

    I wondered about once decision: The text describes a bloodied hankerchief for Hamm’s prop. The ART brilliantly put two red splotches right about where bloody eyes would stain it if it were placed in the same spot repeatedly. That would strengthen the out-of-time theme to the production, and add a tantalizing ghoulishness to Hamm. And yet, the kerchief is not placed so the stains covered the eyes, neither at the start, nor at the end. What a lost opportunity!

    In all, however, a wonderful production with an excellent job done by all.

  89. Mary-Pat Cormier says:

    I thought that the acting was great. Perfect comic timing. That was essential to the piece.

  90. I loved it. I love Beckett, and this was a memorable production.

  91. Kevin Wood says:

    If there was laughter everywhere then it must have been someplace else…

    Clov’s repeated reminders of a mind flitting with insanity and Hamm’s constant worrying of his forehead and cap were tedious in their repitition. The parents peering out of trash cans was creative though its baseness reduced one to numbness in contemplating Hamm’s fate compared to his parents. This truly was a tragedy in the form of an absurdity.

  92. Randy says:

    I wanted to punch this play in the face.

  93. Tanya Cosway says:

    After the huge disappointment of the Seagull, it was great to see Derragh & LeBow pull off this incredibly challenging play with such humour and pathos. It was possible to explore the endless layers of this play while being taken on the meandering journey that Beckett takes us on without us ever having to leave the room we’re in. A job well done.

  94. Kathryn Sajdak says:

    Splendid show! The acting was first rate. Our first time at A.R.T., and hopefully we will visit again soon.

  95. Kathryn Sajdak says:

    Oh yes, and one other postscript: when I was quite young and a student in Europe, I saw a production in Paris of Happy Days (Oh! les beaux jours).I thought that my lack of understanding of the play was due to my weak mastery of the French language. Now I see that with Beckett, you never do quite “get it” — you just go along for the ride. Everyone supplies a different interpretation, and that is the playwright’s genius.

  96. Amy says:

    Devastating but wonderful. The actors brought such warmth to their characters that it transcended absurdism and was hugely emotionally affecting. Often with Beckett, I appreciate his plays on a formal level for their cleverness and profundity, but this time I actually found the drama in it and was genuinely moved. Bravo.

  97. Lorraine Petzy says:

    Endgame. Yes, powerful acting, somehow reminded me of Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, Clov playing the part of the Squire. Where was he going to go to in the end? Thank you for providing us with a thought provoking afternoon of theater.

  98. Anna says:

    I thought this was a magnificent production. The actors were all incredible, the set was perfect. I really feel the actors made the most of the play, they brought out the humor but also moved me to tears. I’m so glad I got to see it. I also really appreciated the Q&A at the end, it was fascinating, and it was great to be able to talk about it.

  99. Dan Robertson says:

    We thought Endgame was well acted and directed. The production captured the existential dilemma of man with humor and pathos. I’ve seen the play a number of times, once in NY ~30 years ago directed by Alan Schneider. This production was certainly as compelling. Bravo!

  100. Tom McGarry says:

    First time to ART; first time to Beckett. Left me moved and thinking. Bravo! ART and Beckett took a scalpel to our Ponzied times and left me,strange to say, hopeful. As Eliot says, “To make an end is to make a beginning.” Let’s hope so. Again, thanks to all for a marvelous 90 minute koan.

  101. Mysore Ramaswamy says:

    Interpreting Beckett is quite challenging. My main problem with your production of ‘Endgame’ is the way in which Clov is portrayed. We get to experience the bane and absurdity of human existence by putting ourselves in those Beckettian characters. This is best achieved by making them act as normally as most of us would behave in those circumstances. There is absolutely no reason to make them more distant than they are!

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