University of Indianapolis
By Samuel Beckett
Directed by Brad Wright
Through Dec. 12
Joanna Cate and Adam Driver in U of I's 'Endgame'
Fans of Samuel Beckett have had a good run lately. We've seen terrific renditions of Beckett's shorter works at the Butler University Department of Theatre and then there's the recent Phoenix Theatre staging of Happy Days, starring Diane Kondrat. Now, we can travel to the Southside of Indianapolis to see an impressive production of Endgame. Beckettphiles are happy as pigs in shit: Sam is busting out all over.
University of Indianapolis' previous production this fall was Pippin. I like it more than I can say that a university theater department can go from Pippin to Endgame. In Endgame, we find four individuals who have found their corner of the Earth - the LAST corner of the Earth it would seem.
We have the man of the house, Hamm (Sam Fain), and his parents Nagg (Jeffrey Dalstrom) and Nell (Joanna Cate). Helping out all three is Clov (Adam Driver), the only mobile member of the group - and a gimpy one at that.
It's the end of the world - as anyone knows it. As Clove says, there's no more tide, implying that even the moon has abandoned the Earth. The four occupy a diorama of death, clothed in rags and ancient slippers, waiting out their final days with desperate games of dialogue, storytelling and ritualistic movement to pass the time. You know, just like us when the TV's broken.
The cast and crew at U of I make a fine showing. Fain and Driver do their vaudevillian shtick ably, or should I say void-villian shtick, with solid support from Dalstrom and Cate. Of all, Driver seems most at home in the Beckett world. He exploits the tiniest nuances in Clov's servant profile.
The set is meticulous, populated by a menagerie of taxidermied animals, the vestigial proof that nature once held diversity. Throughout the play, I continued to find MORE animals, plus additional details like cobwebs and other miniscule whatnot. I have written hundreds of theater reviews and I have never said this 'til now: kudos to the prop wranglers.
Endgame continues at University of Indianapolis' Esch Hall this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. Tickets are cheaper than a movie. For info: theatre.uindy.edu or 788-3251.
Jim Poyser is Executive Director of Earth Charter Indiana, a statewide organization that was one of over two dozen nonprofit partners in Greening the Statehouse. A former managing editor of NUVO, he won HEC’s Environmentalist of the Year Award in 2013.