Showing January 25 – March 12, 2023
Irish Repertory Theatre presents Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett’s Endgame on the Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage.
Written by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Ciarán O’Reilly
Starring Bill Irwin, John Douglas Thompson, Joe Grifasi, and Patrice Johnson Chevannes
Endgame, Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett’s (1906-1989) favorite play, is a tragicomedy of epic proportions. Written in a macabre intensity of mood, it represents the playwright’s fierce declaration of oblivion in a world populated with its last survivors. The play, about the end of everything, moves inexorably to its own conclusion, with its own humor bursting out of the bounds of Beckett’s dark account of the Earth’s last whimper.
Endgame tells the story of Hamm (John Douglas Thompson), who is reduced to living in one room, in which he sits blind and chair-bound. His only escape from his solitary world is the company of his aging, legless parents (Joe Grifasi and Patrice Johnson Chevannes), who live in garbage bins, and his shuffling servant, Clov (Bill Irwin), who is at his beck and call, and who, like a dog, comes when whistled for. The only thing left for Hamm is to wait for the inevitable end.
A pinnacle of Beckett’s characteristic raw minimalism, Endgame is a pure and devastating distillation of the human essence in the face of approaching death. “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness” invokes Nell, which summarizes the tragicomic nature of this timeless play.
The play premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1957 in French as Fin de Partie. The first English language production took place at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York in 1958. Irish Rep first presented an acclaimed production of Endgame, directed by Charlotte Moore, in 2005.
Catch a preview show of Endgame starting at $65 for standard seating from Jan 25 to Feb 1, and $70 until the finale on March 12.
Laura Collins-Hughes of The New York Times tells readers there is plenty of pleasure to be found in The Endgame.