Beckett's Endgame Runs Through Saturday
by Jim Amidon
February 21, 2012
A talented troupe of four veteran actors, stunning costumes, grizzly makeup, and a simple, dark setting come together under the direction of Dwight Watson in the Wabash College Theater’s production of Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play, Endgame.
The Wabash production of Endgame runs at 8:00 p.m. through Saturday in the Experimental Theater in the Fine Arts Center. Tickets are free, but may be reserved by emailing the box office or phoning 765-361-6411.
The play’s title, Endgame, is taken from the game of chess when almost no pieces are left and the outcome is obvious. Beckett’s play focuses on Hamm, a blind tyrant, and his servant, Clov, and their constant bickering as, presumably, the end of the world nears. Hamm and Clov live near a waterless sea under a lightless sun; there is no food, no comfort, no future.
Senior Gus McKinney provides, perhaps, his finest stage performance as a Wabash man. He plays to perfection the gruff, blind, master forever confined to a chair. Freshman Joe Mount, in his second main-stage production, delivers a knockout performance as Clov, who answers Hamm’s every request with dutiful precision. Hamm, who cannot walk, and Clov, who claims not to be able to sit, fight constantly, but are so entwined neither can relent his position.
The only other two characters in Beckett’s masterpiece are Hamm’s parents, Nagg and Nell, who have no legs and live in trashcans. While their parts are secondary to those of McKinney and Mount, senior Jordan Plohr and sophomore Chris McCloskey deliver brilliantly as they emerge from the trashcans to natter on about something and nothing, starving to death in this desolate place.
While the acting is superbly executed under Watson, much praise should be given to sophomore Josh Lutton, who under costume supervisor Andrea Bear, shines brightly as costume and makeup designer. Lutton left no detail overlooked and his costume design greatly enhances the grave, diseased condition of the characters.
James Gross once again provides a thought-provoking scene and lighting design, which adds mightily to the isolated, desolate existence the characters endure.
Endgame was originally written in French by Beckett, and opened at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1957. Watson, like other scholars, believes Endgame is Beckett’s “greatest, most profound play.”
Wabash College Theater’s Production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame
Wednesday, February 22 through Saturday, February 25, 2012
Experimental Theater, Fine Arts Center (tickets are free; phone 765-361-6411)
Directed by Dwight Watson
Starring: Gus McKinney as Hamm, Joe Mount as Clov, Jordan Plohr as Nagg, and Chris McCloskey as Nell
Scene and Lighting Design by James Gross
Costumes by Josh Lutton with supervision from Andrea Bear
Stage Manager Joe Reese