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Beckett’s Endgame opens next week

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Posted on: 8 May 2021

After months of being dark, the Abbey Theatre is finally opening its doors to audiences next week – with a much-awaited production of Samuel Beckett’s masterpiece, Endgame.

The Abbey Theatre has been working hard in recent works to ready itself for re-opening. Besides the cast and crew of Endgame rehearsing online and, more recently, in the theatre, the theatre’s management has also worked to ensure the theatre is safe for audiences.

‘Even though many people in our St Albans community have had their first vaccine, we’re still taking no chances,’ says Theatre Manager Tina Swain.’ We’ve even been awarded a ‘See it Safely’ certification in recognition of our efforts in terms of hygiene, risk assessments and social distancing measures.’

Endgame was Beckett’s favourite of his own plays. The critic Harold Bloom called it ‘the greatest prose drama of the twentieth century’. Its popularity and accessibility was highlighted by a recent production at the Old Vic featuring Daniel Radcliffe, Jane Horrocks and Alun Cumming.

The Abbey Theatre production is directed by Derek Coe, who emphasises the timeliness of the production. ‘The drama is reminiscent of lockdown,’ he says. ‘Four characters are sheltering from a nameless threat: outside is death.  Bleak humour as well as pathos builds from that.’

‘For me Beckett is a game changer,’ adds assistant director Chris Bramwell. ‘I can’t think of another play that is anything like Endgame. It presents a dark vision of the world, but it’s still full of humour and irony with deadpan echoes of the silent films of Keaton and Chaplin.’

Actor Ian Jordan, who plays Clov in the production, says: ‘Beckett’s play gives something new every time you look at it, whether it’s the deeply dark humour or the fleeting moments of genuine connection. It’s such a treat for both actor and audience.’

Fellow actor Matt Hughes-Short, who plays Hamm, echoes Ian’s excitement. ‘My character is the king on the chess board,’ he says. ‘The most powerful piece, but also the most vulnerable. I hope I can bring this vulnerability to life and provide the audience with a truly thought-provoking evening.’

Performances take place on the Abbey Theatre Main Stage from Tuesday 18 to Saturday 22 May 2021 at 8pm. They will also be live streamed.

You can book your tickets for this much-anticipated night out here.

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