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Endgame & Act Without Words I

Endgame & Act Without Words I
Your Price: $22.95 CDN
Author: Samuel Beckett
Publisher: Grove Press
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 100
Pub. Date: 2009
ISBN-10: 080214439X
ISBN-13: 9780802144393

About the Play:

Endgame was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

Endgame is a full-length drama by Samuel Beckett. Hamm can't stand up. Clov can't sit down. Neither can leave the single room they've shared for who knows how long. For them, the end is in the beginning. The follow-up to Waiting for Godot, Endgame is the work many critics, and admirers claim as his greatest, most profound play. The volume also includes his first mime, Act Without Words I.

Endgame involves four characters set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland near a waterless sea under a lightless sun; there is no food, no comfort, no future. The play's title is taken from the game of chess when almost no pieces are left and the outcome is obvious. This absurdist masterpiece focuses on Hamm, a blind tyrant who cannot stand up, and Clov, his crippled servant who cannot sit down, and their constant bickering as, presumably, the end of the world nears. Hamm and Clov play out a comic farce of tragic stature, brilliantly subverted by dark comic values, and wit. The only other two characters are Hamm's decrepit parents, Nagg and Nell, who can't move at all because they have no legs and live in trashcans. Beckett's writing, in the space between vaudeville and Pinter, Chaplin and Stoppard, shows us that nothing is funnier than unhappiness. Waiting for Godot may be his best known play, but Endgame was his favourite play. A pinnacle of his characteristic raw minimalism, it is a pure and devastating distillation of the human essence in the face of approaching death.

Endgame was originally written in French as Fin de partie and translated into English by Samuel Beckett himself. Endgame was given its first London performance in 1957 at the Royal Court Theatre. This play is a staple work of the theatre of the absurd, has enjoyed numerous revivals, become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in repertory and college theatre productions.

Cast: 1 woman, 3 men

What people say:

"Samuel Beckett shows us a mystery outside the grasp of any other dramatist. The feeling Beckett expresses on the stage is a note heard nowhere else in contemporary drama ... Endgame, so mournful, so distraught, is a magnificent theatrical experience." — The Sunday Times (London)

"Outside lies a world of death. Inside the room the blind, impervious Hamm sits in a wheelchair while his lame servant, Clov, scuttles about obeying his orders. Each depends fractiously on the other: Hamm alone knows the combination of the larder while Clov is his master's eyes and last remnant of human contact. The only other survivors are Hamm's legless parents, Nagg and Nell, who squat in dustbins upstage and die during the play." — The Guardian (London)

"[Beckett's work is a] continual search for a special kind of perfection, a perfection manifest in his unfailing stylistic control and economy of language, his remorseless stripping away of superfluities." — New York Post

"Beckett's language falls once again on its feet, like a cat." — The New Republic

About the Playwright:

Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) was an Irish avant-garde playwright, poet and novelist. One of the leading literary and dramatic figures of the twentieth century, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969 and commended for having "transformed the destitution of man into his exaltation." Born in Foxrock, Ireland, he attended Trinity University in Dublin. In 1928, he visited Paris for the first time and fell in with a number of avant-garde writers and artists, including fellow Irish writer, James Joyce. In 1937, he settled in Paris permanently. He wrote in both French and English and is perhaps best known for his plays, especially En attendant Godot (Waiting for Godot).

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