Saturday, June 24, 2006

End of part

We have just finished the first round of blocking Endgame. I am dying, having had to run Hamm's last soliloquy about five times tonight. If Gavin had said: "Let's to that again" I'd have used his own focus exercises to summon just enough energy to strangle the bastard. More of this later. But just to satisfy you buggers, I sit here at 1am telling you a story you probably won't read anyway.

Most early critics of Endgame seem to agree that the play is meaningless, and that its point is meaninglessness. Many admirers of Beckett say that he systematically, ruthlessly and heartlessly goes around dynamiting whatever sacred cow dung we worship in order to show the thing for what it really is: cow dung. In other words, Beckett's worshippers believe that to appreciate Beckett as much as they would like, you'd need a DPhil in critical theory, aesthetics, and collective wanking. Mostly, I don't disagree, except for the last bit. (Before you Beckett worshippers sue me, read that sentence again. The devil's in the syntax.)

My problem is this: Endgame breaks my goddamn heart. How can a meaningless play about meaninglessness do that?

What the hell. Am I doing something wrong? Am I reading my own narrative into a play which purpose is to destroy narrative? Or has our understanding of the world changed so much in the last 50 or so years that what was intended to make no sense at all now makes not only perfect sense, but hits us where it hurts?

Endgame, the way I see it, isn't an intellectual play that appeals merely to the mind -- although it once might have been just that. Tonight's reading hit at least one of us in the heart. It damn well hit me too.

And I was reading the bloody thing.


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