Yes, I liked it.
And yes, it made me cry.
By the end of the third page I was sighing a little, with the dialogue feeling a bit like Godot-lite. There were moments of “cleverness” throughout that teenage me would have marvelled at, but to a more mature reader they feel a little stale. It felt like a Beckett play, a lot like a Beckett play, and though that meant it was solidly interesting, it also meant that there were lots of lines I felt I’d read before.
This isn’t just a case of style – this is jokes created in the same way, this is the repetition of the same idea using repeated structure and language. Granted, Shakespeare repeated things, but he (unlike Beckett) wasn’t concerned with originality. An originality used to express the terrible reality of mortality and the mundaneity of all existence. Which is almost ironic.
But if you ignore the moments where Beckett repeats himself, there are some moments of quite beautiful poignancy in Endgame: discussion of ageing, love, physical decline, fear, loneliness and family. There is affection and the lack of it, dependency and the idea that no individual can ever be truly independent. It made me cry, more than once. It is quite frequently an engaging text.
It’s good, I suppose, but it’s not as good as Waiting for Godot and it is – for me, though perhaps not for all readers – irritatingly similar to the earlier play. If it was produced near me I’d probably go and see it, but not if it took me more than half an hour to get to the theatre…
Good, but not brilliant. Worth reading, but not essential reading.
* Those dark years are over, just to clarify, but if you scroll back far enough on this blog you can probably catch a little bit of their tail end…
** Though not as arrogant as I was as a teenager. Over the last year I think I’ve managed to find that hallowed middle ground between my 16 year old self constantly demanding attention (lots of public stripping) and my 23 year old self hiding at social functions in order to avoid conversation. That middle ground consists, essentially, of making my public nudity online-only. See, for example, my recent Christmas video:
*** This acronym appears throughout my teenage (and later) notebooks.