(Howard Shapiro, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
For a fan of absurdist playwright Samuel Beckett, is there anything as comforting as seeing two large garbage cans onstage when the curtain comes up on Endgame? A pair of his great oddballs, Nell and Nagg, will pop their heads from those cans, as they always do, to further elucidate or confuse things.
The cans are a sign that a modern classic is about to begin, perhaps the last thing Beckett, who died in 1989, would have wanted: people becoming comfortable with his plays, knowing what to expect and even anticipating their own take on them.
But wait – the success of Endgame, like any stage work that holds up, depends greatly on its production, a point being roundly proved this week at the Annenberg Center. There, the visiting Gate Theatre of Dublin is performing a rich and precise Endgame, the story of an old blind man named Hamm, his longtime servant, and the parents he has either thrown away or who have ensconced themselves in the trash.