“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness; it's the most comical thing in the world,” chimes Nell (Jill Hill), one of the very unhappy souls in Samuel Beckett's 1957 absurdist classic, Endgame, about four pitiful characters trapped in a decrepit room as the outside world collapses in decay and sterility. Unlike the equally pitiful tramps in Waiting for Godot, there is no expectation of hope or purpose, just the agonizing passage of time, ending in an inevitable, painful demise. Nell's misery is shared with Nag (Mitchell Edmonds): Both are confined to battered rubbish cans, and periodically emerge to ask for a stale biscuit or engage in meaningless chatter. Perched upon a grotesque caricature of a throne sits the blind and crippled Hamm (Geoff Elliott), whose every whim and need is grudgingly tended to by the bent, shuffling Clov (Jeremy Rabb), in a perverted, meaningless ritual of servitude. Jeanine A. Ringer's rusted building interior, strewn with scraps of trash, makes a fitting backdrop for this doleful scenario. Elliott's direction is as spot-on as his performance; he skillfully accents the play's comic and lyrical elements without compromising Beckett's dark, relentlessly blighted vision. This superb revival showcases fine performances from other cast members as well, especially Rabb, who raises chuckles every time he moves. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena.; Sun., Nov. 3 & 17, 2 & 7 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 8 & 22, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 9 & 23, 2 & 8 p.m.; Thurs., Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m. (626) 356-3100, anoisewithin.org.
Sat., Oct. 19, 8 p.m.; Wed., Oct. 23, 8 p.m.; Thu., Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 25, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 26, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 27, 2 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 3, 2 & 7 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 8, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 9, 2 & 8 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 17, 2 & 7 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 22, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 23, 2 & 8 p.m., 2013
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