The visit of The Godot Company with their acclaimed production of Beckett’s play Endgame, was a very special occasion.  Not just for a very special production but the company founder, the legendary publisher John Calder, wa in the foyer of the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny, selling programmes.  The Calder imprint for over sixty years supported the publication of a long list of modern and classic authors.
Endgame is a ninety minute one-act play that followed Waiting For Godot and it looked bleakly at attempts of servant Clov to leave his cruel master, Hamm. (In the Bible, Hamm is the son of Noah).  Hamm is confined to a chair on castors, is blind and paralysed.  In his cruelty he exercises a strong hold on the servant Clov, who could be terrified by the thought of bring left alone.  Also onstage, are the parents of Hamm, who live or exist in dustbins and are legless.  This heightens the nihilism and also the unreality of the work.
Clov sings in a tuneless way, Hamm tells a story that seems to peter out occasionally and the two dustbins pop-up slowly and ramble on about a boat trip on Lake Como.  The play for me carries too much intellectual baggage and reminds me of why I stopped enjoying Beckett, before the fine Gate Godot tour.  But the quality of the acting was splendid and memorable.
It was a rare and distinct pleasure to see Henry Woolf as Clov.  Woolf was a classmate and friend of the late Harold Pinter and also toured Ireland with Anew McMaster. Peter Pacey is well-known from television drama and his Hamm was impressive.  Royston Kean was Nagg and Dublin-born Colette Kelly was Nell.  Direction was expertly handled by Tony Rohr, a founder of Joint Stock theatre company.
This fine Beckett production originated in England, where the Arts Council England has initiated a £2.5 million scheme to give away more than half a million Free theatre tickets for the under 20’s, over two years.  This was launched by tv stars Sheridan Smith and Rupert Penry-Jones, under the promotional banner of A Night Less Ordinary.
I am also reminded that some years ago I saw a Waterford Dramatic Society production in Garter Lane of Endgame, featuring Hugo O’Donovan, John Pogge, Denise Quinn and Billy Hutchinson in his most memorable role as Nagg.