In the twentieth century, many artists paid great attention to existentialism. In addition, the theater of the absurd became a remarkable phenomenon, which described in colors all the strangeness and meaninglessness of life. A striking example of such a work is Endgame by Samuel Beckett. One of its theatrical performances was directed by Conor McPherson in 2000. All the characters in this piece are defective, and the plot itself is quite frightening. Hamm cannot see or stand, his servant Clov is unable to sit, and his parents live in dustbins. The audience gets the feeling that the surrounding world does not exist at all, and time stands still in anticipation of the end. The characters communicate and constantly contradict each other, but it seems that this all makes no sense (“Endgame (Beckett)”). In my opinion, this work, despite its unusualness, is one of the most distinctive in the history of art of the last century.
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Lighting is a crucial element of the production, as it sets the general mood of the piece. All the action takes place in one room with two windows, and this place is portrayed gloomy (“Endgame (Beckett)”). Thanks to this, the director creates in the minds of the audience a feeling of discomfort and hopelessness of the situation. In my opinion, this is a reasonably good move that allows viewers to feel the whole atmosphere of what is happening. It is worth noting the costumes of the characters, which also play an essential role in this play. Although they are up to the standards of that time, they give the impression of discomfort, poverty, and extinction as well. Among these details are, for example, Hamm’s worn beret and gloves with slits for fingers.
The actors managed to portray what Beckett wanted to convey to the audience adequately. In the role of Hamm, Michael Gambon behaves harshly and rudely, which causes some dislike and rejection. David Thewlis, who plays Clov, on the other hand, seems insecure. Thus, the audience gets a feeling of pity and even some sympathy for this person (“Endgame (Beckett)”). Both actors are completely immersed in their roles, which allows them to portray their condition’s hopelessness entirely.
In my opinion, the director’s main goal was to portray the inevitability of the end, which Beckett put into this play. I believe that he ultimately coped with this task, showing the described situation as absurd and dark as possible. Throughout the viewing, the audience is kept in suspense and experiences quite unpleasant sensations. This is achieved through the acting, set, lighting, and many other details that the director took into account. That is why this artwork is popular and evokes a great response from the audience.
Endgame filmed in 2000 by Conor McPherson is a prime example of contemporary art. Indeed, it is unusual and not like what people might see in classical theatrical performances: it is neither admirable nor enjoyable. However, viewers can feel the finiteness of life and the absurdity of existence thanks to this play. The discomfort caused by these sensations accompanies them throughout the entire viewing. Thus, the director has an undeniable influence on society. This can encourage people to think deeply and take action. Such art is undoubtedly necessary for the world to move it forward and remind people of the fundamental aspects of being.
“Endgame (Beckett).” YouTube, uploaded by Donauquell, 2014.