Endgame's Remainders

Russell Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Endgame has attracted very diverse responses over the years. Kenneth Tynan's review of Roger Blin's production of Fin de Partie expresses his distaste for the play, whereas Harold Hobson considers it “magnificent.” Alan Schnieder's production of Endgame (1958) also drew quite different reponses from Brooks Atkinson and Vivian Mercier. The extremity of the responses, for and against the play, are fascinating, and I discuss some of the possible reasons that lie behind them. In place of considering interpretations of the play, I focus on the dramatic structure and effects, and responses from critics and reviewers, alongside reactions from less experienced spectators. I consider the structure of the play, and the views of critics such as Mercier, Andrew Kennedy, and Theodor Adorno, who contend that there are elements of tragic form underlying the play. Jonathan Kalb, Paul Lawley and Pierre Chabert refer to the polarities and tensions in the play, which create dramatic rhythm and pattern. Hugh Kenner, Antony Easthope and Ruby Cohn are brought into the discussion, as they have many useful ideas concerning metatheatricality. Gabrielle Schwab and Wolfgang Iser both make a convincing and interesting case concerning how the play encourages the spectator's consciousness of how they project meaning. Many will continue to be discomforted by a play that refuses to provide answers, and turn away from a play that seems to them bleak and alienating, whilst others will continue to consider that Endgame is a remarkably successful piece of theatre, with an enduring fascination.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDialogue (Netherlands)
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Pages99-120
Number of pages22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Publication series

NameDialogue (Netherlands)
Volume1
ISSN (Print)1574-9630

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