Michael Gambon, Jean Anderson & Charles Simon
One of the lead roles
Hamm and his parents, Nagg and Nell, live neccessarily sedentary lives while Clov
cannot stop moving and gets them things, or offers to get them when they are not there to get. Clov
wants to leave after Nagg and Nell die, but apparently there is nowhere to leave to.
"Endgame" is often considered Beckett's masterpiece, arguably the greatest play of the 20th century. The musicality, companionship and lightness underpinning 'Waiting for Godot's despair is replaced by claustrophobia; just as Vladimir and Estragon, kept alive by hope, are taken over by Hamm and Clov
, bitter, maimed master and servant, waiting not for Godot, just the end.
The play's apocalyptic comedy, complete with parents kept in dustbins, is a chessgame about death; mental disintegration in a meaningless universe; an allegory for the theatre. There are never any escapes in Beckett's hells, just the knowledge that the grim winding down of a life will be deferred for tomorrow night's performance.
The play is also an hilarious parody of the Anglo-Irish Big House story, with Hamm the cruel landlord, withering solitary as the Famine lashes outside, littered with the corpses he refused to help, always witholding that saving kind word, as we all do.