Endgame & Other Short Plays by Samuel Beckett Set for Anderson Theatre

Posted on April 12th, 2016 by

For its final main-stage theatre production of the year, the Department of Theatre/Dance at Gustavus will present Samuel Beckett’s absurdist comedy Endgame and six other Beckett short works. Directed by Amy Seham, performances of the seven works will be presented at 8:00 p.m. April 14-16, and 2:00 p.m. April 17 in Anderson Theatre.  Tickets are limited and available in advance online at gustavustickets.com or by calling 507-933-7590.

Samuel Beckett was a Nobel-prize-winning Irish playwright, poet and novelist. His tragi-comic plays helped define a genre dubbed by critic Martin Esslin as “Theatre of the Absurd” – works that used dark humor to explore the human condition. The influence of existential philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre and complex writers like James Joyce is evident in Beckett’s work. Endgame, like Beckett’s better-known Waiting for Godot, is set in a post-apocalyptic world with characters trying to find meaning and questioning their own significance in the knowledge that their existence, may soon end. Beckett’s, “I can’t go on. I’ll go on,” signals the basic human drive to survive and to create a sense of purpose.

Finding meaning and humor in the works of Samuel Beckett is a difficult challenge. In her program notes, Director Amy Seham writes that through Beckett’s words, “we have peered into the existential void. For an idealistic young person, it can be disconcerting, even frightening to plumb the depths of Beckett’s empty world…..But theatre is not nothingness. Through this performance, we offer provocative ideas, absurd humor, creative passion — and our own conviction that is matters.”

Actor Thomas Buan ’16, whose senior honor’s project is the portrayal of Engame’s Hamm, sees the challenge of performing Beckett’s densely-worded script in “changing the tone and keeping the audience engaged in the story.” Dramaturg Noah Davis ’17 explains Beckett’s work as “understanding the fundamental absurdity of the human condition, and embracing it with a sense of levity.” Beckett walks the audience into the despair of existence but does not leave them there; through the journey, he helps the listeners to find both meaning and the drive to continue.

This weekend’s performances of Endgame & Other Short Plays in Anderson Theatre will open with six plays by Samuel Beckett: “Acts Without Words I & II” (two short works which have no dialog), “Catastrophe,” “Come and Go,” “Not I,” and “Play.” Endgame, in one act, will follow the intermission. Not only will the members of the audience be challenged their own meaning, they will become a part of the experience.

Tickets for Endgame & Other Short Plays by Samuel Beckett in Anderson Theatre opens on Thursday, April 14 at 8:00 p.m. Additional evening performances at 8:00 p.m. will be presented on April 15 & 16. A 2:00 p.m. matinée is scheduled for Sunday, April 17. Tickets are available in advance online at gustavustickets.com or by calling the box office at 507-933-7590. Tickets are limited for these performances. Advance purchase is advised.



  1. Chuck Holmes says:

    I am so sorry that I missed this – any chance that you’ll do an encore presentation?