The ISU Theatre is presenting Samuel Beckett’s "Endgame" in a thoughtfully shaped production directed by Arthur Feinsod. Beckett’s play focusing on the frustrating repetitions of an end of days scenario premiered in 1957. Though Beckett denied specifics, it certainly seemed that his four bunker-bound characters were acting out the ending of a nuclear holocaust. Today, when that specific disaster seems less threatening, "Endgame" becomes an even more general and perhaps more thought provoking metaphor of patterns of human relations and dangers to nature.
Hamm, the chair bound boss- perhaps the king- of this part of the land of "Endgame" was played by the rich voiced Benjamin Snyder. Beckett has given him the longest and the most complex of his specific yet allusive speeches. Actor Jeremy Grimmer was his servant Clov. Grimmer may have missed the era of silent film comedy by nearly a century, but his Buster Keaton style shenanigans with a step ladder were got consistent laughs from Saturday’s audience. Hamm’s trash can bound parents Nagg and Nell were played by Terry James Tincher and Samantha Macy. Nagg is a sort of foxy-grandpa character and in the ISU production, he’s actually made up to look like a fox. Nell was played as a nicely silly chirpy lady.
Like many good plays "Endgame" begins as a mystery. Who are these characters? What’s going on? When is this happening? Where are we? And the final question, why? In many drama’s we leave the theatre with these questions fully answered and the case closed. In the ISU production of Beckett’s play each of these questions is explored in some depth, but with each the audience is left with more than a few tantalizing mysteries.
Though the stage for "Endgame" is simple the rich though subtle complexity of Linda Janosko’s set painting as played upon by David Del Colletti’s lighting continued to have an impact throughout the play. Sherry McFadden’s costumes, especially the remains of what might be an African King’s robes and headpiece for Hamm and the bedraggled ring master costume of Clov held a history of their own.
Samuel Beckett’s "Endgame" plays this Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in the Dreiser theatre on the ISU campus in Terre Haute.
You can see this and other theatre and film reviews and hears an interview with director Arthur Feinsod and actor Jeremy Grimmer on our web site at George Walker’s Arts Interviews .