Endgame at St Albans' Abbey Theatre is perfect antidote to lockdown
- Credit: Abbey Theatre
Samuel Beckett’s Endgame opens at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans next week.
And as the play is a bleak comedy about an argumentative group of people sheltering together, it could hardly be more suited to the times.
The play predates COVID-19 by more than half a century, but its themes are surprisingly resonant in 2021.
As The Guardian asked last year, "Is there a more fitting playwright for our current moment of isolation, uncertainty and endurance than Beckett?"
The director of Endgame is Derek Coe, who says: "The idea of sheltering, of being locked down, while hidden dangers form ‘a death outside of here’, is highly relevant for our era."
But the relevance doesn’t end there. The two older characters in the play, Nagg and Nell, live in dustbins.
"Their situation could almost be a metaphor for the callous treatment of so many of the elderly at the beginning of the pandemic," adds Derek.
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The role of Nell is played by Angela Stone, who also sees interesting parallels in the role.
"I saw the play last year at a packed Old Vic and found it funny, sad and very relevant to this age of environmental devastation.
"Is Nell symbolic of Mother Earth, consigned to the dustbin of history? Or like springtime, will she come again?"
The play features interesting metaphors but is also accessible, entertaining and – in a bleak way – very funny.
Lesley Gordon, who has been working on the production as a prompt, says: "It's been a treat watching Derek and his excellent cast bring this surreal but often comic play to life."
Assistant director Judy Jaques adds to the picture of a play that challenges the audience with its absurdity.
"Working on Endgame is like being on the inside looking out, and the outside looking in, at the same time," she says.
Performances take place on the main stage at the Abbey Theatre from Tuesday, May 18 to Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 8pm.
All performances are also being livestreamed.
To book tickets, go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 857861.