German translation by Elmar Tophoven
Right from the very beginning Clov, in his monotone voice, announces to the blind and immobilised Hamm: “Finished, it's finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished.” Yet both of them carry on, playing their ritualised game according to precisely laid-down rules. Specific memories from their past are intertwined with the present-day jibes of these characters who are bound together by love and hate. They are trapped in a mythical order from which there is no escape. How do you play endgames when the game is already over?
In the play he wrote in 1956, during a period of post-war optimism and reconstruction in Europe, Beckett demonstrates the manipulability of historical discourse, and the irreconcilable differences between it and real history. The outside world appears to be dead; however as long as people are still acting on stage, in theatre and in life, they must keep on living – assuming one doesn’t stoically and inconsequentially characterise life itself as dying. Beckett uses gallows humour and is, as a genuine clown, to be taken seriously – even if the notion of what is serious and what is amusing doesn’t follow the traditional concepts.
Under the direction of Jan Bosse, Ulrich Matthes as Hamm and Wolfram Koch as Clov demonstrate Beckett’s ironic resistance in circumstances which appear hopeless.
Premiere June 2, 2007