Theatre Review: Endgame

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
A legless old man and a legless old woman poke their heads out of ash cans, and blink. They’re wearing white pajama gowns with tasseled caps. And when they converse, it’s both ridiculous and kind of sad. “Can you see me?” “Hardly. And you?” “What?” “Can you see me?” “Hardly.” “So much the better. So much the better.” “Don’t say that.” The play is Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame,” featuring four strange, frustrated characters, isolated and waiting for something to happen – and naturally, nothing ever does. “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that. But— “ “Oh!” “Yes, yes, it's the most comical thing in the world. And we laugh, we laugh, with a will, in the beginning. But it's always the same thing.” Cast members Mitch Agruss and Boots Martin, who you just heard, have been performing professionally since the 1940s. Along with fellow veterans Ed Claudio and Dan Harlan, they represent some 200 years of insight on acting. And here they are, the city’s most distinguished senior performers, tackling Beckett’s bleak masterpiece in the obscure venue known as California Stage, a converted metal shed by the light rail tracks that rattles whenever a train goes by. Beckett, who enjoyed irony, would have smiled. (Light rail sounds….)