So this Russian friend called me the other day and said she had a spare ticket to go see the Endgame if I wanted to join her.
You see, at this point, a sensible person would ask:
What is the play about?
Instead, I asked:
- Where is it? ( “Covent Garden”- she said. I thought: nice location, good shops, great food all around)
- How much? ( Can’t afford any expensive cultural stuff when Christmas is around the corner. Culture can wait.)
- When? ( babysitting issues)
Once I got the suitable replies to my questions, I simply said yes. I said yes before I looked the Endgame up online. Once I read the description, I sent my friend an email.
- Ni-iiice!- I said to her- Sounds happy!
- It may be quite heavy- she replied- but, apparently, a smooth and rewarding performance.
Smooth and rewarding. I forgot I was dealing with a Russian friend. Russians find depressing stuff rewarding. It is a cultural thing.
But, even for her, it proved too heavy. I was pleased about that. I quite like this friend and was worried she would claim to have enjoyed this nightmare. More importantly, I was worried she would say she understood it. Which would make me look really stupid for not having a clue.
Whoever I have been telling about this horrific experience, exclaimed in one voice- Oh! But that is by Samuel Beckett!
Yes, haven’t you heard? He is in fashion. I also remember seeing 5 very bright yellow stars, and the words "pure delight" underneath. However hard I try to think of a polite way to describe this 1 hr 20 minutes of torture, pure delight would not be my choice. But what do I know? I am:
a) Foreign (always use this excuse, just in case I am actually wrong)
b) Not a theatre expert.
c) Someone who spent years watching enough depressing Soviet stuff, so probably just bored of it all.
Anyway, if you would ask me what the play was actually about, I would just have to admit that I have no idea. As far as I understood something nasty had happened to the world outside. There was nobody and nothing else out there, but that poor bloke with no eyes, who also happened to be paralyzed from the waist down. And his servant, who was the only one who could walk. However, his legs did not bend. (For some bizarre reason the public found that fact terribly amusing.)
They both seem to hate each other with passion, but of course, they are stuck together. No, they were not married, as far as I could tell.
You are probably thinking: So? Is that it? Ah, well.... Not quite. In the corner of the stage there were two large garbage bins. You know the kind, the outside bins with lids and black plastic bags inside.
So it turns out the bins contained the elderly parents. Who had no legs at all. The father kept asking for a treat, like an old dog and the mother suddenly died in the middle of the play. Clov, the servant on unbendable legs, walked up, looked inside the bin, confirmed she was pretty dead, and tied the plastic bag before placing the lid back on the bin.
I won’t bore you too much. If you are curious enough and have time to kill at work, you can read it here.
I can not remember anything else happening, besides a lot of shouting and some painfully long speeches by the blind guy.
There you go.
I am not just telling you this to amuse you. I think it is my duty to warn you to not see this play if you happen to have an intellectual Russian friend who might offer you some tickets. 5 stars! Only 75 performances in London! Hurry! Do not miss this “pure delight”, just in time for Christmas, when you might,accidentally-despite everything else screwed up in this world-be getting into the festive spirit.
I can not think of anything more painful I had attended in my entire life, except for the concert of Herbie Hancock a few years ago. I am not a huge fan of Jazz anyway, despite being Azeri. Azeries love Jazz. We even produced some famous Jazz musicians, like Aziza Mustafa-zadeh, should you be interested to know (no idea why you would be, but just in case) But normally, I love any live music. It takes a lot to make me get up and leave, and sit outside, waiting for the others. It felt like someone got inside my head and was methodically sawing my brain into tiny bleeding pieces.
As husband and the others emerged, I was convinced they all thought I had no taste and no understanding of beautiful music.
- I am so sorry- I said- I could not stand it any longer, I was going to die.
And everybody laughed and admitted they did not get it either. Sometimes, you see, someone has to say it first. Even if all the critics in the world think otherwise.