Samuel Beckett’s classic play ‘Endgame’ – featuring a star-studded and multi-award-winning cast and creative team – will land on the Baxter’s Golden Arrow Studio stage from August 8 to 25, with Andrew Buckland, Rob van Vuuren, Antoinette Kellerman and Soli Philander, directed by Sylvaine Strike.
“Nothing makes more sense than to have Samuel Beckett’s brilliant play about senselessness, performed by two ludicrous clowns who are finally joining forces – Andrew Buckland and Rob van Vuuren,” says director Strike.
“In addition, having two theatre icons, Antoinette Kellerman and Soli Philander, play in the supporting roles, is a dream for any director. If, for no other reason, than to spend time in the company of these South African theatre greats, performing one of the most extraordinary plays ever written. They will take the audience onto a journey into the dark heart of the post-apocalyptic circus of this play,” adds Strike.
This production brings together the combined talent and expertise of comic and theatrical craftsmen and women in what has been described as one of Beckett’s favourite plays. Buckland plays the role of Hamm, with Van Vuuren as Clov and veterans Philander and Kellerman as Nagg and Nell. Set and lighting design is by Patrick Curtis and costume design by Birrie le Roux.
Johannesburg-based Sylvaine Strike has become widely respected as a leading director in South African theatre for her work that has won her many accolades and awards. Last year she directed Moliere’s ‘Tartuffe’ to great acclaim and some of her other productions at the Baxter over the years include ‘The Travellers’, ‘Black and Blue’, ‘The Miser’ and ‘Tobacco, and the Harmful Effects Thereof’.
In recent years at the Baxter, Buckland was seen in ‘The Inconvenience of Wings’, ‘Tobacco, and the Harmful Effects Thereof’ and ‘Blue/Orange’; van Vuuren performed in ‘A Doll’s House’, ‘Life’ and the Jive Cape Town Funny Festival; Kellerman was seen in ‘As Die Broek Pas’, ‘Samsa-Masjien’ and ‘macbeth.slapeloos’ and Philander returned to the Baxter stage last year in his own solo show ‘Nice Coat (Lekker Jas)’.
Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin, Ireland, on Friday 13 April 1906. He is described as an avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, poet, and literary translator, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life where he wrote in both English and French. In 1969 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature with ‘Endgame’, ‘Waiting for Godot’ and ‘Krapps Last Tape’ being some of his best-known plays which have been, and are still being, performed all over the world today.
Beckett’s work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human existence, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour, which is why he is considered one of the last modernist writers and one of the key figures in what is called “Theatre of the Absurd”.
‘Endgame’ explores the relationship of master and servant; boss clown and underdog and in some contexts father and son; parent and child. All of these are either delicately or robustly disembowelled with the rhythmical precision evocative of a Magnus Opus. The laughter triggered when watching the play allows its audience to come to terms with the horror and ecstasy of existence, all at once.
Director Strike explains, “Simply by existing in 2018, we face the possibilities of apocalyptic devastation and simple redemption. There could not be a more appropriate time to delve into the glory and misery of our human existence so concisely captured by Beckett during the horror that echoed through humanity during and after World War 2.”
* Performances will be at 7.30pm nightly, Monday to Saturday, with previews on August 8 and 9 and opening on Friday, August 10.
Ticket prices range from R120 (for block bookings of 10 or more and for the Early Bird special which is only valid until July 31, for performances from July 7 to 11 only), to R160 and R180. Booking is through Webtickets or selected Pick n Pay stores.