endgame samuel beckett Director's note: “... viewed as a whole, life really is a tragedy. But gone through in detail it has the character of a comedy. For the doings and worries of the day, the restless mockeries of the moment, the desires and fears of the week, the mishaps of every hour, are all brought about by chance always bent on some mischievous trick; they are nothing but scenes from a comedy. The never fulfilled wishes, the frustrated efforts, the hopes mercilessly blighted by fate, the unfortunate mistakes of the whole life, with increasing suffering and death at the end, always give us a tragedy. Thus, as if fate wishes to add mockery to the misery of our existence, our life must contain all the woes of tragedy, and yet we cannot even assert the dignity of tragic characters, but in the broad detail of life, are inevitably the foolish characters of a comedy.” –Schopenhauer
Daniel Brooks, Director of Endgame
a message from the artistic director In 1999, during Soulpepper’s second season, Daniel Brooks directed a production of Endgame that went on to win the Dora Award for Best Production of the Year. A year ago when I asked Daniel what he would be interested in directing for this season he said Endgame. He felt that there was so much more still to explore. It was something we so rarely do in the theatre world (though it is common in the symphonic world or the opera). A director returns for a second in-depth look at a great production a decade or more later. This time Daniel has the same design team and Diego Matamoros returns as Clov. But the rest of the cast is new and what a cast it is! I for one can’t wait to see how the production has deepened.
Albert Schultz, Artistic Director
illustration: brian rea
endgame samuel beckett
Daniel Brooks director
Diego Matamoros Clov
Julie Fox Set designer
Eric Peterson Nagg
Victoria Wallace costume designer
Maria Vacratsis Nell
Kevin Lamotte LIGHTING designer
Joseph Ziegler Hamm
Richard Feren SOUND designer Nancy Dryden stage manager Janet Gregor assistant stage manager Jessica Glanfield assistant director Toby Malone Dramaturg Kelly McEvenue alexander coach
generously supported by
Endgame is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC. The audio and/or video recording of this performance by any means whatsoever is strictly prohibited The services of Jessica Glanfield were made possible through Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program, funded by the Ontario Arts Council. There will be no intermission. Approximate running time 1 hour and 40 minutes.
background notes “My work is a matter of fundamental sounds… made as fully as possible and I accept responsibility for nothing else. If people want to have headaches among the overtones, let them. And provide their own aspirin. Hamm as stated, and Clov as stated, together stated nec tecum nec sine te [neither with you nor without you]… that’s all I can manage, more than I could.” Samuel Beckett wrote these words in 1957 to a man who was directing Endgame. They convey the writer’s refusal to submit to philosophizing about his work as well as his dry, dark humour. More generally about his work he once said: “I take no sides. I am interested in the shape of ideas.” He didn’t find that clarity as a writer until he was in his forties, after he fell under the sway of James Joyce, after he lived through the Second World War, after he fell out with James Joyce, after he had an artistic crisis, after James Joyce died. Where Joyce’s work had an epic accumulation of details, knowledge, information, Beckett came to see that his own way was to subtract, to take away all but the essential. This revelation led him to write in French to ensure that his writing had no “style”. It ensured as well that Beckett struggled as much for each word as his characters do. His greatest works were born from this artistic decision: plot, character development, and traditional play structure were pared to their essentials. This simplicity led some to call Beckett’s work minimalist: a term the playwright hated. In fact, this rigor brought vividness and clarity: everything that is on stage commands our attention. He built plays around concrete images (like Nagg and Nell in Endgame, trapped in garbage cans) and explored the problem of meaning with a passionate, unblinking determination. To the bitter end, his lonely human creatures struggle to express the inexpressible. Endgame, considered by some to be Beckett’s greatest play, gets its English title from the last part of a chess game when there are very few pieces left and the players go through the final moves knowing the outcome. The playwright preferred the French title, Fin de Partie, because it applies to games other than chess, but he could not find an equivalent in English. Endgame is a meditation on loss and how we make meaning in the face of it. The characters in the play continue in spite of everything, in spite of knowing what’s coming, just as chess players do, just as, the play suggests, human beings must do. Beckett gazed unflinching and told plainly what he saw and the power of his honesty is as fresh, compelling, funny and contemporary as if it were written yesterday. Perhaps his longtime collaborator and muse, the actress Billie Whitelaw, said it best: “With all of Sam’s work, the scream was there, my task was to try to get it out.”
Biography Samuel Barclay Beckett was born on April 13, 1906, in Foxrock, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland. Beckett attended Trinity College, Dublin from 1923 to 1927, where he studied French, Italian, and English. After graduating he took up a teaching post in Paris, where he was introduced to James Joyce, who would become a great influence on Beckett. Over the course of his career Beckett penned over 20 plays, 8 novels, several poetry collections, novellas, non-fiction, and writing for television and radio. His most famous novels are contained in the “trilogy” of Molloy (1951), Malone Dies (1951) and The Unnamable (1953). Endgame premiered in 1957, and later became recognized – along with Waiting for Godot (1953) – as one of his greatest works. One of the most widely-discussed authors of the 20th century, Beckett left a legacy that has influenced innumerable artists and thinkers. Beckett died in Paris on December 22, 1989. Background Notes by Associate Artist Paula Wing.
soulpepper production Jacqueline Robertson-Cull
Paul Boddum Nina Hartt Duncan Johnstone
head of hair & makeup
Greg Chambers props builder
scenic artists Soulpepper Theatre Company is an active member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (pact), the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (tapa) and Theatre Ontario, and engages, under the terms of the Canadian Theatre Agreement, professional artists who are members of Canadian Actorsâ€™ Equity Association. Scenic Artists and Set Decorators employed by Soulpepper Theatre Company are represented by Local 828 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
for their generous support of Endgame
YOUNG CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS DISTILLERY HISTORIC DISTRICT
Playbill for Soulpepper's 2012 production of Samuel Beckett's Endgame