Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Endgame - The Play, Not the Face-Melting Album

This past Saturday, the young woman who agrees to see me regularly and I saw the matinee performance of Endgame at Steppenwolf.

I went expecting a staged interpretation of Megadeath’s 2009 album ‘Endgame.’  What I saw was classic mid 20th century absurdist theatre written by Samuel Beckett, featuring a guy from CSI, which is a show that I don’t watch.

So that took a little getting used to.

Once I adjusted to a lack of face-melting heavy metal music, I found myself generally enjoying the show.

I’ll say this about Steppenwolf: their shows are consistently watchable. With a reputation, talent, facility and budget like that of Steppenwolf, you could only hope. Still, it bears mentioning. I have yet to see a show there that I haven’t at least kind of liked. Sets, sound, lighting, general acting competency? All top notch.

As for the show itself: It’s the story of a blind man (Ham) who can’t stand up and his dependence on a servant (Clov) who can’t sit in a world of grayness that defies the passage of time. It had moments of laughter, although not nearly as many as I would expect for a show that bills itself as a ‘comic masterpiece.’ And if there’s one thing you probably get from that synopsis, it’s ‘comic masterpiece.’

I kind of wish I hadn’t read the show notes in the program. It outlines the meaning that the production was going for – essentially that we all lead lives despite the fact that we are destined to die, and that while that life is tragic to us, it’s entertainment for other people – but to be honest, I don’t know what I would have come away with.

I will also confess that, by about minute 60 in the 80 minute (no intermission) show, I was beginning to get a little bored. I think this was caused by the deliberate lack of plot in the script – this tend to happen to me when I’m watching absurdist plays – but they got my attention back in time for an ending that was chilling and puzzling and exactly the sort of thing you would expect out of a show like this.

So, bottom line: worth seeing. We did the 20 for $20 deal and I think that’s the way to go. Don’t know that this would have been worth full price, but $20 for a few laughs, a good production and some thinkin’ material is a decent deal. Show information can be found here.

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