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The Gate Theatre of Dublin Will Present “Watt” and “Endgame,” Two One-Act Plays by Samuel Beckett

The Gate Theatre will perform "Watt" on Nov. 2nd and 4th in Playmakers Theatre at UNC-Chapel Hill

The Gate Theatre will perform "Watt" on Nov. 2nd and 4th in Playmakers Theatre at UNC-Chapel Hill

Carolina Performing Arts will bring Dublin, Ireland’s world-renowned Gate Theatre to the Historic Playmakers Theatre on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus to perform two one-act plays by Irish expatriate author Samuel Beckett (1906-89): Watt on Nov. 2nd and 4th and Endgame on Nov. 3rd and 5th.

On its website, Carolina Performing Arts writes:

“[The one-man show] Watt [starring Barry McGovern] is Beckett’s hilarious study of obsessional neurosis, adapted from his autobiographical [1945] novel….

“Beckett’s Endgame [1957] tells the comical tale of the aged and blind Hamm [Owen Roe] and his servant Clov [Barry McGovern], co-existing in a mutually dependent and fractious relationship with only Hamm’s parents [Des Keogh as Nagg and Rosaleen Linehan as Nell], legless from a biking accident, for company.”

Carolina Performing Arts claims the Gate Theatre of Dublin is “Widely considered the world’s leading interpreter of Samuel Beckett’s work.”

Also according to Carolina Performing Arts:

“… Watt [is] drawn from Beckett’s second published novel in English. … Endgame [is] considered one of Beckett’s most important works — second in popularity only to Waiting for Godot [1953].

“Beckett wrote most of Watt while in hiding in the south of France during World War II. It describes the title character’s journey to the reclusive Mr. Knott’s house; once inside, he becomes Mr. Knott’s manservant. Watt goes through bizarre adventures as he struggles to make sense of the world around him.

“Stage and film actor Barry McGovern, who knew Beckett, performs the role of Watt; he chose texts from the novel for this one-man performance.

“‘Watt is characterized by an almost hypnotic use of repetition, extreme deadpan philosophical humor, deliberate misuse of the English language, and rich visual descriptions,” said Emil Kang, director of Carolina Performing Arts. ‘Watt’s story is told with elegant simplicity and immense pathos.’

“A London Guardian reviewer declared the production ‘quite simply outstanding …. I got an almost delirious joy from hearing and seeing an hour-long distillation of Beckett’s novel Watt.”

The Gate Theatre will stage "Endgame" on Nov. 2nd and 4th in Playmakers Theatre at UNC-Chapel Hill

The Gate Theatre will stage "Endgame" on Nov. 2nd and 4th in Playmakers Theatre at UNC-Chapel Hill

Endgame, written in a style associated with the Theatre of the Absurd, focuses on Hamm, an aged master who is blind and cannot stand up, and his servant Clov, who cannot sit down. The two co-exist in a mutually dependent and fractious relationship with only Hamm’s legless parents, Nagg and Nell — who live in trash cans — for company. The play focuses on themes of repetition, time, isolation, and existence. The Irish Times called Endgame ‘amusingly sad and achingly funny.’

“The Gate Theatre has launched the careers of illustrious actors including Orson Welles, James Mason, and Michael Gambon. The Gate was the first company in the world to present a full retrospective of Beckett’s 19 stage plays….

SPECIAL PRE-PERFORMANCE DISCUSSION ON NOV. 2ND: In conjunction with the performance, there will be a special pre-performance discussion 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 2nd in Gerrard Hall [], with Chapel Hill editor, scholar, actress, and long-time friend of Samuel Beckett, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld. The discussion is free and open to the public. Moderating the conversation will be Karen O’Brien, the David G. Frey Fellow Assistant Professor of Dramatic Art at UNC. In 1985, notoriously private Beckett authorized Fehsenfeld to edit his letters; she gathered and consulted Beckett’s voluminous correspondence (more than 15,000 letters) in public and private collections to edit his private correspondence. The Letters of Samuel Beckett Vols. I and II have been published, with the second volume, comprised between the years of 1941 and 1956, was just released in September 2011.”

According to the Gate Theatre’s website, Tom Creed directed Watt, which consists of texts from the novel selected and performed by Barry McGovern; and Alan Stanford directed Endgame. Both shows feature costume design by Joan O’Clery and lighting design by James McConnell. Watt also features sound design by Denis Clohessy and music by Barry McGovern after Samuel Beckett, and Endgame features set design by Eileen Diss.

Carolina Performing Arts presents the Gate Theatre of Dublin in WATT at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2 and 8 p.m. Nov. 4 and ENDGAME at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 and 8 p.m. Nov. 5 in Historic Playmakers Theatre, 202 E. Cameron Ave., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

TICKETS: $29-$39 ($10 UNC students) per show.

BOX OFFICE: 919/843-3333 or







Gate Theatre: (official website) and (Wikipedia).

The Tour: (official web page).

Watt (novel): (Wikipedia).

Endgame (play): (Wikipedia).

Samuel Beckett:*SBECKETT&n=22071 (Samuel Beckett Society) and (Wikipedia).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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