Irish Film Institute -Endgame


‘Endgame’ is the term used to describe an ending in chess where the outcome of the game is already known. Beckett, an avid chess fan, saw the parallel between the chess endgame and the final stages of life. He realised that death is the final outcome, regardless of how a person plays the game of life. Death as a final ending is absent from the play, which turns into a powerful drama about waiting. The characters must go on waiting for what will never come, declining into old age and senility. Daily rituals are performed ad nauseum.
Endgame shares many themes with Waiting for Godot, but it’s a denser work. The one major difference between the two plays is that in Endgame the sense of despair is heightened by the fact that the characters are not waiting for anything other than death. As one critic noted, Waiting for Godot is a despairing play about hope, and Endgame is a despairing play about despair.
The film of Endgame is directed by Conor McPherson and stars Jean Anderson, Michael Gambon, Charles Simon and David Thewlis. Says McPherson, I felt that Endgame was one of the plays that would best translate into a film because there’sa definite location, a room. Beckett only said ‘interior’. We had to be lively and inventive with the camera to create humour and pathos and keep surprising the audience. (84 mins.)

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