Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Endgame/Act Without Words

Manuscripts | Publications | Productions | Reviews


Harold Hobson declared in his 7 April 1957 London Sunday Times review of Beckett’s Fin de partie that it “has outraged the Philistines, earned the contempt of half-wits and filled those who are capable of telling the difference between a theatre and a bawdy-house with a profound and somber and paradoxical joy.” Kenneth Tynan, in his review in the Observer (7 April 1957), confessed that when he read the play he “enjoyed long stretches of it—laconic exchanges that seemed to satirise despair, vaudeville non-sequiturs that savagely parodied logic. Within the dark framework I even discerned glimmers of hope.” The play production, however, he found “portentously stylized . . . For a short time I am prepared to listen in any theatre to any message, however antipathetic. But when it is not only disagreeable but forced down my throat, I demur.” Brooks Atkinson in the New York Times (29 January 1958) allows Beckett his say: “What Mr. Beckett has to say is contrary and nihilistic . . . We are through he says. Nature has forgotten us. The jig is up.

Under Mr. [Alan] Schneider’s bustling and perceptive direction . . . Mr. Beckett is getting an intelligent hearing . . . The actors have given him the privilege of saying what he feels with no equivocating.”