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The End of the World As They Know It: “Endgame” review

Irish Repertory Theatre has once more revived Endgame, Samuel Beckett’s confounding work about the end of…something. At the center of Ciaran O’Reilly’s production is the blind, chair-ridden Hamm (John Douglas Thompson), who barks orders at his lumbering, reluctant servant, Clov (Bill Irwin). As in Godot, not a lot happens over the course of the play. Clov enters and draws the curtains, only to reveal bricked-up windows with small holes high up for him to look out on the desolate land and motionless sea. We soon learn that Hamm and Clov are among the last survivors of some unnamed cataclysm that has erased most traces of life from the earth.

But no one leaves, either because they physically can’t or because there’s nowhere else to go. At least they can take a break from each other now and then. Two nearby trashcans house what remains of Hamm’s parents, Nagg (Joe Grifasi) and Nell  (Patrice Johnson Chevannes). Both legless and confined to the garbage cans, they occasionally pop up to ask for nonexistent sugarplums and reminisce. This solid ensemble is more than enough to make this apocalyptic tale worth the watch.