Monday, April 10, 2023

Endgame at The Irish Repertory Theatre

Joe Grifasi and Patrice Johnson Chevannes

If writing a play were like Open Table then both Waiting For Godot and Endgame would require a reservation for four. For the Endgame foursome Hamm, Clov, Nell and Nagg the time is “ever.” You could also look at the Endgame as a version of the "Seven Ages of Man" with life being not a stage, but stage directions. “Put me right in the center,” Hamm orders. Clov’s “I have to kill the rat or it will die” is the kind of conundrum that passes for traditional blocking. A virtuosity edging close to hysteria is the tone. John Douglas Thompson's Hamm is preaching to the choir, but he’s s also talking to himself as are Clov (Bill Irwin) and Nagg (Joe Grifasi) who, in one scene, is a father hilariously mumbling the “Our Father.” The expression of enlightenment on his face which quickly disintegrates recalls Buster Keaton’s deadpan in Beckett’s only cinematic work Film. If you’ve ever thought people on cellphones look like they're talking to themselves, you’ll may understand Ciaran O’Reilly’s direction, which is to commit Beckett’s characters to the asylum of themselves. The brilliant soliloquies isolate one character from the other--which is the point. “Mine was always that,” Clov quips when asked if he believes "in the life to come." The Irish Rep's production is a parodic liturgy turned into a brilliant eulogy. "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness," says Nell (Patrice Johnson Chevannes). The run has been extended and the last four performances  will be streamed. Check the Irish Repertory site for details.

read "Buried Alive" by Francis Levy, TheScreamingPope

and watch the trailer for the animation of Erotomania

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