This archived article was written by: Mae Goss
“There is nothing funnier than unhappiness,” said the writer of the play Endgame, Samuel Beckett, to be the most important quote in the entire play. The quote is read by the character Nell, played by Sarah Bailey. Nell says, “Yes, yes, it’s the most comical thing in the world. And we laugh, we laugh, with a will, in the beginning. But it’s always the same thing. Yes, it’s like the funny story we have heard too often, we still find it funny, but we don’t laugh any more.”
Todd Olsen, director of Endgame, stated that this sort of a play was “very different theater.”
The genre of the play would be considered as Absurdest, which plays with the ideas of existentialism. Existentialism is “a philosophical attitude … opposed to rationalism that stresses the individual’s unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices,” dictionary.com says.
In the play, Hamm, played by Scott Westwood; and Clov, played by Casey Walker; are the protagonists. Hamm is an aged master who is blind and not able to stand up, and Clov is his servant who cannot sit down. They exist in a tiny house by the sea, although the dialogue suggests that there is nothing left outside; no sea, no sun, no clouds.
“The two are mutually dependant on each other,” Olsen says. The other two characters, Nagg, played by Michael Johnson, and Nell, are the parents of Hamm.
The audience should expect be “Coming to the show to be entertained, but also to be an active participant,” Olsen advises, because Beckett broke all the rules of theater. The play does not begin at the beginning as normal stories do. Also, because of the existentialism used in writing this play, there are an awful lot of statements where, as an audience member, you get to decipher the meaning. If the audience participates, Endgame could well end the semester at the College of Eastern Utah with a bang. Olsen says, “It has the potential for it.”
He thinks the cast is ready to perform. Olsen said enthusiastically, “Oh yeah. The cast has really grasped onto it.” This cast has been very instrumental in being able to absorb new ideas and take direction as written in the script. When Olsen wanted to do this play he said, “We had to sign an agreement to not change it at all.” Zero alterations could be made and that made it slightly more difficult to do.
But thankfully, Olsen was up for it. “I always like a challenge. It’s not your usual type of play.”
The show runs April 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, every night at 7:30 p.m. at the Geary Theater. The costs are: $10 for adults, $7 for non-CEU students and senior citizens, $5 for faculty and staff, and $3 for CEU students.
As long as the audience comes ready with open minds, this play could be very successful and well-liked.