I went to an interpretative dance version of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Endgame’

The lights dimmed, the music started. The ten dancers shuffled onto the stage, dressed in sacks and rags with grey clay make-up. They moved in unison, with occasional breaks for individual expression. They did not speak, instead they grunted, or yelped or barked – to express something deep and meaningful I suppose?

It was as pretentious and ridiculous as it had threatened to be. The sound was discordant. The dancing was dull and robotic. I hadn’t a clue what was meant to be happening. Then again, I was just an audience member. I ought to know my place and not question the artistry of the choreography. Worst of all was how bottom-clenchingly boring it was. I had asked the usher before the show how long the performance would last. He answered ninety minutes. This promised to be a very long evening.

There is only one line of dialogue in the piece – from Endgame: “Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished.” This was uttered at the start of the piece. No such luck however. On and on and on it went. Toward the end of the piece the line is repeated. The audience started clapping – in the desperate hope that it was over? No such luck – the drab characters continued their morose, surly shuffle.

When finally it ended, the audience remained quiet. Our hopes had been dashed previously. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. This time it was finally over however.

The dancers shuffled slowly towards the front of stage for their ovations. The applause started. And it was split. About half the audience rose to their feet offering an unmerited standing ovation. What were they thinking? Did they actually enjoy that? Or were they announcing how cultured they are? The other half (myself included) offered a lackluster clap, relieved that it was all over. The dour grimaces never left the faces of the dancers as they retreated.

An absolute disaster of a show, rescued somewhat when I discovered that not a single person in my group of five had enjoyed it. The post mortem in the pub afterwards, annihilated the production and ultimately turned the evening into something of joy.

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