Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Endgame responses

Please respond to two of the following three questions:
Your reponses need to be between 5-10 sentences minimum.

1. How does Act Without Words help illuminate any themes from Endgame?
2. How did viewing the filmed production of Endgame affect your understanding of the play?
3. This is a fun one. In what ways does the YouTube clip represent the spirit of style of Samuel Beckett's Endgame?

for question 3, enter in Beckett Charlie Rose in the YouTube search bar.
Good luck and I look forward to reading your work.


  1. 2. Seeing Endgame preformed was meaningless. Not just because the play itself was a representation of the sort of 'quasi-meaninglessness' called existentialism, but also because the literal explanations of the play (stage directions, dialogue, etc)were straightforward. In fact, I'd argue that because seeing Benji shouting at Sharp is infinitely more enjoyable than watching dialogue between British actors (really, who wants to watch the British to begin with?) you needn't bother putting next year's sophomores through the experience of Endgame's performance. It simply isn't necessary to understanding the play.
    Furthermore, in actuality what is the work but for the dialogue? Beckett admits it himself, it's all that keeps his characters from leaving the stage.

    3. I'm unsure as to why the Charlie Rose clip might represent Endgame. My first assumption would be that some broad theme like the absurdity or futility of living might tie in. Unfortunately, upon further examination I realize the depths of Mr. Rose's statements, their power and significance. Therefore, partially due to the eloquence of Mr. Rose's conversation, and partially because I have a hunch, I'll proceed with my next assumption. Both Samuel Beckett and 'andrewfilipponejr' use dialogue as a means to say absolutely nothing (or everything?).

    p.s. I especially liked Mr. Rose's jedi-hand every time the 'google' clip was inserted.

  2. 1. Act Without Words had many of the same elements to it which ultimately reinforced the main themes of Endgame. First of all, the main character portrays that idea of doing the same thing everyday and getting nowhere by running up and down the hills without seeming to learn. Then later, Clov's repetitive forgetting and then going back for of the ladder is shown when the man arranges boxes to climb on. The man's ignorance or stupidity seems important as well, incapacitating him to a basic human form, striving only for what he needs to survive. Hamm and his people have literal injuries to do this to them, intelligence doesn't come into play. Even the whistle noises in the background occur in both films, perhaps representing the beck and call of life in general.Larger ideas are also paralleled as the man always strives but never reaches the water until he finally gives up and Hamm and Clov attempt to do something with their lives but cannot. This is where Beckett's main point is revealed. Whether you are a blind old man living with his disabled...housemate/servant/pseudo-son thing, or a stranded imbecile (of the medical variety), life will always be the same monotony ending in the same result.

    2. Watching Endgame did emphasize the absurdity more than reading it did, but this is because the actors were familiar enough with the lines that the words lost some importance and action became key. When reading the bits about the dog, I didn't get as much of a feel for Clov's motivation to lie or why Hamm believed him so easily. Clov's handicap also plays a bigger part when viewed then described and the two main character's relationship takes a more unbalanced quality when you are able to see how much Clov does in comparison to Hamm. Though the movie proved much more boring than the reading, it was done the way Beckett always meant it to be done, the proper way.

  3. Peter Washington's (Period 7) Endgame Responses:

    2. To be honest, the film bored me. The dialogue was long and seemed to never end. As a result, I hypothesized that I would be just as uninterested in the theater performance of Endgame. Of course, I realize that Beckett was attempting to be unique in his writing by not creating any plot whatsoever, and I am sure that many intellectuals would enjoy the work, but I am simply not a fan. I do, however, find the written version of Endgame much more entertaining. The cause of this preference is that when I am confronted with conversational dialogue rather than a plot, I prefer to analyze the ideas in the conversation rather than hearing them said out loud. Furthermore, the scenery of the film version bored me.

    3. Endgame is written as both a minimalist and absurdist work. The Charlie Rose clip shares these basic philosophies with Endgame. For example, they both have no plot, and are instead filled with pointless dialogue. These qualities are typical of minimalist works. The idea that both works lack action adds to their absurdist style. Absurdism is the idea that there is no purpose to the universe, and there is no better way to play on that belief than to create a work about nothing.

  4. 1. Act Without Words illuminates the themes of absurdity and routine. The mime's existence is absurd because his life is meaningless. No matter what he does it does not accomplish anything in the long run. It highlights routine because the mime repeats the same activities. In the beginning he is thrown back onto the stage and then lays down. Then towards the end he is thrown back on the stage and then lays down. The mime will either die a meaningless death or possibly repeat the same process the next day.

    3. If I were to truly get into the mindset of absurdity I would write a story about a pink rhinoceros trying to scratch his back. The youtube clip was utterly pointless (even on the verge of being annoying) like Beckett's play Endgame. Both accomplish nothing and are absurd. They both have dialogue which ultimately contribute nothing but noise. Overall Beckett and the clip are both absurd and pointless. That's the spirit though. Nothing matters because in the end it's either routine or you die.

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  7. 1. Seeing Act Without Words is like seeing Endgame sped up. The protagonist quickly moves from coming into existence to coming to the ultimate conclusion that existence is not worth it when he ignores the water he previously wanted. Both works show existence as meaningless and repetitive. Unlike Clov and Hamm, the mime of Act Without Words escapes this monotony by simply stopping. After seeing Act Without Words the ultimate goal of Hamm and Clov became more apparent to me. Clov wishes he could stop following orders but cannot because to do so would mean to lose his purpose and thus stop existing, which Clov is not willing to do. Clov’s being is pointless drudgery just as the mime’s being is fruitless grasping for something he will never hold.
    2. While reading Endgame with the class, I did not have time to read over the stage directions. I did not worry however, as I assumed that they were just formalities put in place to create a stage for the dialogue. On actually seeing those stage directions performed, I have changed my mind. The themes of the play can be seen just as clearly, if not more so, in the actions as in the conversations. The importance of Clov’s disability and the slap-stick problems he had moving things around helped to create the frustrating, ineffectual portrayal of life. Furthermore, the emotion put into the lines by professional actors made both the characters and meanings of the play much deeper. That being said, seeing the same work in two only slightly different formats within a week of each other was somewhat redundant.

  8. 1. In Act Without Words, the main character constantly tries to reach for something that is literally out of reach. It becomes a routine and begins to resemble the lives of Hamm and Clov from Endgame. The running up and down the hills never getting anywhere or the jumping up for the water but never grabbing a hold of it emphasize how people can continuously strive for something their whole life but never obtain it, ending in defeat, which is portrayed in Act Without Words when the character decides to give up or in Endgame when Clov asks whether any of his daily routine has a purpose. Though defeated because of different means, the character's stupidity in the Act Without Worlds helps multiply the fact that Clov and Hamm can never make their lives mean anything more. This also helps emphasize the idea that everyone will gradually reach the same ending and that such an ending is not wanted but necessary, for Clov always hints that he will leave Hamm but never actually does until the very end. Another noticeable thing was how the items given to the character in Act Without Words were all just the necessities needed to live. In Endgame, Hamm tells Clov it is the dialogue that keeps Clov there, which helps portray that little things can sometimes make life satisfying. This is also shown through the joke and stories that Nagg and Hamm tell.

    2. The viewing of the filmed production of Endgame helped me understand the play a little bit more, but not a lot. I am not so sure if this was the way that Samuel Beckett had imagined it, but it made me realize how much Hamm and Clov seemed to not enjoy their lives at first, yelling at each other and becoming annoyed at times. Both Hamm and Clov seemed more frustrated than I had imagined, and Clov also seemed much less graceful. So it was helpful in that I was able to see how the characters act, show emotion, etc. In addition, the emotions portrayed at the end helped me empathize with Clov. It allowed me to view all the sadness that was created from their repetitive and unexciting lives. Overall though, I feel as if I imagined the play better (through reading the stage directions) before I saw the film. Also, I do not quite agree with the way the actors performed their actions for I did not feel that it matched their characters, therefore not really gaining much from watching the play.

  9. 1. Act Without Words, as well as Endgame, manifested ideas similar to The Stranger regarding death. The repeated futile attempts by the main character come together to raise the question "Why even try?" From his first interactions with the water and the tree, viewers are able to see that his attempts at surviving are made in vain. Endgame succeeds in displaying the misery sometimes associated with old age. Beckett exemplifies this through the insanity that the old man shows and the pain that the elder lovers are in. Thus, Act Without Words conveys the message that not embracing death, such as Meursault in the Stranger does, results in a miserable end.

    2. The viewing was difficult to endure because of the extraneous dialogue with European accents, but did succeed in allowing me to better comprehend the play. The pain that we see in the elderly couple, as they struggle to communicate and interact, shows us the troubles of being old. Similar to this, the Hamm's arguable insanity makes viewers despise an end to life spent in misery and despair. Simply being able to see the facial reactions of the characters, in addition to hearing the rhythm and tone of the dialogue allows for viewers to understand the pace and emotion of the play better.

  10. 1. Act without words shares the same hopeless attitude as Endgame.
    Act without words is basically Endgame compressed into 10 minutes.
    The cruel and unusual punishment that the man from Act Without Words experiences is comparable to the boring time the characters from Endgame spend in their rooms for hours. One striking similarity I saw was the whistle being blown telling that something was happening. In Act Without Words it was in order to command the attention of the man and to realize his surroundings. In Endgame it was virtually the same as Hamm craving the attention of Clove.
    2. I definitely better understood the play after viewing the video version. For me, the long soliloquies that take place were much more easy to understand when someone said it wish serious intent in their voice. I did not even know of the whistle until seeing the play so that helped inform me of the severity of Hamm demanding things of Clove. Also, the theme of death seemed a lot more apparent and that you cannot avoid it. However, I thought reading the book as a class was much more interesting most likely because of the general things that happen in movies that do not happen in books like intense fight scenes.

  11. 1. Endgame is quite similar to Act Without Words. Act Without Words outlines some of the same concepts as those which are seen in Endgame. Act Without Words has a brief plot consisting of no spoken dialogue. However, Beckett is clearly displaying main ideas of existentialism. He questions the meaning of life in the first film. The main character constantly fails at succeeding in any endeavor that would be helpful toward his own good. Similarly, Clov always forgets that he needs the ladder to see out the window. Hamm's consistent requests for care keep Clov from cleaning up the room, yet he obliges Hamm unfailingly, because there is nothing else to do.
    2. The characters in Endgame helped aid my understanding of the play. When I read the play, imagining the setup of the stage was difficult to do simultaneously. Also, the pauses in the script were much more understandable with connotative emotion from the characters in the movie.

  12. 1) It is easy to believe that Act Without Words was written by the same writer as Endgame with only their names to go off of. After watching Act Without Words, I was quickly taken back to the time (not too long ago) when we read Endgame aloud. I was astonished at how pointless it could feel to read something. However wasteful it feels to engulf oneself in the act of reading, or watching, something created by Samuel Beckett, its brilliance does not escape me. With Act Without Words this realization, of what makes something brilliant, was illuminated and recognized all the more than before. Even their repetitiveness and their character(s)'s mindless actions can help someone see their similarities.

    2) While listening to the play in class I had not caught onto a lot of details. One thing, in particular, was that the dog was not real. I had not understood that the dog that Hamm seemed so insistent on receiving affection from was non- existent. During the movie, I had been surprised to see a stuffed toy dog rather than (I don't know) a real one.
    I had also missed that there were lids on the trashcans, or that the biscuits weren't the floury kind. I had not gotten the foreign references until the film equivalent came up.
    I feel that my knowledge of the play was increase significantly by having encountered it in not only in writing but film also.

  13. Emily Wang-
    1. Act Without Words helps illuminate the themes of Endgame in that they both represent a sense of meaningless. The more and more effort the main character put into his actions made his goals more and more difficult to reach. The more he struggled, the more he had to struggle. Just like one who earns good grades in school, to get into a good college, to get into a good graduate school, to get a good job, to get some meaningless promotion. It's an endless cycle and it questions the purpose of life. That same theme is represented in Endgame in that Clov continually listens to Hamm and they get nowhere and there is no plot to the play. There is no point, no meaning, in fact, they fear that they may get a little meaning in the process. It's so set out of the normal paradigm of thought that people use, that it begins to make them question really, what was the point of this play? Which then leads to a question of life and the point. The main character of an Act Without Words eventually gives up which can be seen when he chooses to ignore the water, giving up on life. Clov seems to reach this same conclusion towards the end when he gives up on his own purpose, serving Hamm. This theme of absurdity, of meaningless endlessness is illustrated in both stories.

    2. Viewing Endgame finally allowed me to connect the actions with real actions. Rather reading about how he walked from window to window, it was just so much smoother seeing him walk from window to window with his steps. The jokes made much more sense and the overall theme of absurdity and meaningless made much more sense when I could visual the scenes occurring. The disabilities and the conversation erupting between the characters with real emotion made it a better play in my opinion. The way each character spoke and interacted with each other helped bring out their personalities more, which helped emphasize the themes of the play. I genuinely liked watching the play in action far more because I could now visualize the setting better and the actions made much more sense in action than on paper. Though the monologue were slightly intolerable, the rest of the dialogue was much more enjoyable when I could see and hear.

  14. 2. I found the play of Endgame interesting but boring at the same time. The plot (or lack of a plot) was different than most plays which kept my attention because I wanted to see if it was going to actually make anytime soon. In the end, I did not really understand it at all and no matter how many times I watch it, I do not think I will.
    3. Both the play and the clip were both hard decipher because their plots did not have any meaning or at least not one that I know of. Just like for Endgame, there is not much I can say about the Charlie Rose clip because it was pointless.

  15. 2. The film "Endgame" provided an excellent medium for portraying the play in action, personality, mood, and character. The actual text of "Endgame" is still good, though. The written dialogue between Hamm and Clov was crafted in such a way that the immediate tone and tension of any situation could be grasped and interpreted quickly with ease. However, only the film could process the whistling sounds of the hollow wind, visualize the emptiness of the room, and portray expression and reaction clearly. In a sense, the film was a great add-on to the text of the play itself. Bringing out the life of the words through visual means greatly enhanced my perception in terms of timing, stage directions, character, and spacial activity in that empty room.

    3. When I first looked at this video, I believed I had stumbled upon the wrong Youtube clip. It looked like someone clipped the original one and assembled a bunch of repeated scenes over and over again in an attempt to make a popular spoof. Nevertheless, it was a most enjoyable video, in which many other people agreed in the comments section. The sheer absurdity and disorienting repetitions made it unusually hilarious but also models the essence of Beckett's "Endgame." The play where Hamm and Clov exchanged dialogue also embodied puzzling scenes. More than often, Hamm would warn Clov, "Don't stand there. You give me the shivers." And at other times, Hamm would order Clov to do one thing after another, sometimes the commands in contradiction to each other. "Spontaneous" is a good word to describe both works, and "Charlie Rose" is a modern reincarnation of Beckett's older masterpiece. The arguments over Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, and Radiohead (once) rewinded itself through a number of familiar scenes connected by phases of awkward silence. The perceived ridiculousness of both works establishes a relationship of the spirit of style between an old film and a modern internet video.

  16. The Youtube clip seemed more reminiscent of Beckett's "Breath" to me. Regardless, the clip compiled by 'andrewfilliponejr' was similar in style to Beckett in the sense that both have a unique style in which viewers are confused as to the purpose of what they are viewing. Some might venture to say that the Charlie Rose clip implies the takeover of Industrial America, but rather, both "Endgame" and the Charlie Rose clip utilize their unique, eccentric styles to contribute to ideas regarding old age. In closing, the Charlie Rose clip represents Beckett's spirit of style by exemplifying that a minimalist piece can still have a large impact or voice.

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  18. 1. Much like Endgame, throughout the entirety of Act Without Words there subsists a feeling of hopelessness and emptiness. Like Clov, any efforts made by the protagonist of the work to alleviate his situation only ended in disappointment. Just as Clov ultimately fails to leave Hamm, the protagonist of Act Without Words is incapable of obtaining the water. Both the mime and Clov are also similar in that both seem to lack basic logic at certain points (when Clov keeps forgetting his ladder and when the mime stacks the boxes in an irrational fashion). A sense of repetition is present in both works, as each work sees its protagonist attempting time and again to perform a task that is never performed. But while the routine in Endgame appears to persist beyond its conclusion, the mime falls into a state of resignation at the end of Act Without Words, apparently accepting his fate.

    2. I felt that viewing the film aided in placing an emphasis on the theme of repetition in Endgame. To witness Clov limp up the stairs time after time in the same fashion and see him push around Hamm's chair definitely reinforced that theme in my eyes. Viewing the film allowed me to catch anything I missed from the reading of the text. For example, I didn't realize that Hamm's commentary on the wonders of sunlight was actually during the part when he was sitting in darkness, having just been removed out of the light. As far as helping to heighten my understanding of the play, I didn't really feel that watching the film allowed me to take away anything I didn't already get out of the text. It was interesting to witness Hamm and Clov in action, to say the least.

  19. 1. Viewing “Act Without Words” served to strengthen and reiterate themes from “Endgame”. Similar to “Endgame”, its purpose is to portray the lack of purpose in life. Hamm and Clov continue with their meaningless actions, such as looking out various windows, purely because if they did not, they would have nothing to do with themselves. They state themselves that they remain for the dialogue and nothing else. In the same way, the main character in “Act Without Words” chases various objects, such as the bottle of water, to create some sort of purpose for himself. However, while the characters in both works tried to create meaning for their lives, they ultimately end up giving in to the apathy of the world and are back where they started, with their pointless lives. Hamm and Clov begin and end “Endgame” in the same positions, just as the main character in “Act Without Words” gives up on getting water and becomes indifferent to the whistle continually trying to summon him to some task. These two plays were made in order to compliment each other, together presenting Beckett’s powerful message about the meaning(less) of life and the monotony of man’s actions.

    2. Viewing the filmed production of “Endgame” did help me to better understand the movements and expressions of the characters. The effect is not the same seeing Clov whack Hamm in the head with the fake dog or limp across the room as having read the same thing. It further emphasizes the absurdity of the work and how the seemingly arbitrary actions serve no larger purpose than to have something to do. However, at the same time, viewing “Endgame” after having just read the play was also quite painful to sit through, especially during the monologues. In class, it was discussed how most of the random pointless dialogues between characters was just that – random and pointless. Beckett was trying to convey how our lives are just constant repetitive motions that carry no larger meaning, and did this through meaningless words and actions. Therefore, while watching the play, it was hard to focus and maintain interest when the only contribution the film had was to show action (which took up a small percentage of the actual screen time).

  20. 2. How did viewing the filmed production of Endgame affect your understanding of the play?

    I felt that the filmed production added very little to my appreciation and understanding of the play. While the inane actions and pointless exercises performed by Clov are necessary to appreciate the thought behind the work, these could be just as easily conveyed through reading the play as through seeing it.The dialogue, which is the crux of the play, was not made more palatable or approachable simply by a visual presentation. While I liked the in-class reading, and felt I had a rather complete understanding of the play from our brief discussions and my own careful perusal of the text, the movie was difficult to watch with any true comprehension. The soporific effect of the laconic atmosphere on screen was almost impossible to resist in the darkened classroom. Understanding became a constant battle, warring with the sleepy desires of the average teenager.
    While I still have an appreciation for Beckett and his revolutionary tactics in the realm of writing, I felt that the film added very little to my understanding of the play itself.

    3. This is a fun one. In what ways does the YouTube clip represent the spirit of style of Samuel Beckett's Endgame?

    Beckett has a very erratic, episodic style. "Endgame" jumps from each strange, impulsive sound byte to the next with no transition or explanation. So too does "Charlie Rose," with its odd, nonsensical arrangement. Like "Act Without Words," "Charlie Rose" is a distillation of the themes of "Endgame." It is merely a lengthy stream of pointless actions that serve no purpose other than to pass time. The point of "Charlie Rose" is not to elucidate "the future of technology and the internet", contrary to the original question. It is to point out the pointless repetitions in every moment of life, just like "Endgame."

  21. (1) After the sheer lack of content in “Breath,” I must admit that “Act Without Words” was a relief. The former I hesitate to call a play, preferring instead the title of “questionable moment in English class.” The latter is further proof that qualities are relative. “Act Without Words” was amusing and comical, with the roughly-dressed man clumsily trying to utilize various objects dropped by an indifferent sky to reach a drink of water. The man reminded me immediately of Tantalus, but with more props and a different end result: acknowledged, apathetic defeat. However, as the camera panned away from his small, sandy world, I could not help but feel sorry for the thirsty man. His suffering is contained entirely in that small depression in the sand dunes, and outside, there is essentially no world, as what the man cannot reach does not matter.
    Taken in this manner, “Act Without Words” helped bring out a similar message in “Endgame.” In both plays, the suffering of the characters is retained in a well-defined area, and outside, there is nothing. As a result, actions are repeated, often causing more pain and suffering, similar to a closed system where all energy and work is eventually converted to heat, or entropy. By extension, Earth is a just a bigger version of Hamm’s room and the thirsty man’s patch of sand. Whatever the billions of inhabitants do, all hurtle toward death as the planet slowly inches closer to being sucked in by the sun.

    (2) I will have to apologize in advance: I derived very little meaning or understanding from either reading or watching “Endgame.” Never could I have imagined before how a play could be devoid of plot or meaningful dialogue to such a degree. Nor could I imagine a son placing his handicapped parents in trashcans. What a lack of filial piety! When I tried to explain to my parents ‘what happened at school,’ no words I knew in English or Chinese could describe the feeling of utter pointlessness after viewing “Endgame.”
    I suppose that is the point. Perhaps I should applaud Beckett for managing to sustain nothingness for many, many lines of dialogue and more than an hour of acting. The play simulates a lack of meaning because the world may have no meaning. With the film, I was able to better grasp the idea that actual (pitiful) human beings were going through the actions which Beckett’s words first described. Throughout the play, viewers are left to piece together contextual hints as to why the characters are in the situation they are in. Hamm keeps his parents in trash bins, Clov may be the son of the gardener in Hamm’s story, Clov has a kitchen, and there might be a beach outside. Nagg and Nell mention sunny lakes and a marriage proposal, but in the end, nothing matters. They are there, isolated and in various degrees of infirmity.

    Victoria Cui

  22. 2. Viewing the filmed production of Endgame allowed me to visualize things that I had not been able to visualize before in my mind. For example, I was unsure of how to visualize some of the stage directions- watching the play allowed me to do so. Having images to watch also increased my understanding of the play emotionally. The play’s dialogue does not reveal much about the actors’ emotions and leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Seeing it in the form of a movie allowed me to match emotions to the dialogue and therefore give the words more meaning. I did not understand the play in a completely new way after viewing the video, but I did understand some of the scenes in a deeper way. For example, the scene between the old couple took on much more meaning for me- previously, it had been only a conversation. The video made it a touching scene between two people trying to reunite their love.

    3. Samuel Beckett’s Endgame is a minimalistic play- it is neither elaborate nor complex. The Youtube clip emphasized this simplistic style. Just like in Endgame, the setting stays the same throughout. Two men sit at a table and talk for the entirety of the clip. The dialogue is dry as well, just as it is in Beckett’s play. The men’s conversation goes back and forth, often one word at a time. The whole conversation is static and achieves nothing. In Beckett’s play, the conversations do not go anywhere either. It is the same kind of back and forth, repetitive, simplistic talk between the two main characters. Neither Endgame nor the Charlie Rose clip have any direction whatsoever, and it is this fact that makes them so similar.

  23. 2. Sadly, the movie performance of Endgame did not live up to expectations carried over from reading the play. Though accurate, and with images and audio along with the dialogue, the movie was dull. Beckett’s characters were created with the idea of detachment and pointless existences or events, the dialogue is why we stay, and the movie showed it. Meaningless though it was in my opinion, the movie did increase my understanding of the dilemma of the characters, though way of life might be a more accurate description, for they have no way of extricating themselves from their situation. Just reading Endgame, the dull, repetitive nature of the character’s lifestyles could not percolate through, but watching the movie, the sheer dullness of how they live could be “seen” in a more real sense.

    3. The video clip was unusual, to say the least. At first seeming to contain just random clips in an attempt to mock, the clip drew parallels with Hamm and Clov in Beckett’s Endgame. Throughout the clip, the words Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google were repeated along with a silence seemed to have either one party or the other dumbfounded. The repetition of these words and silences is similar to Clov, who in the beginning of the play continually cycled through window, step away, ladder, window, step away, and remember the ladder. Hamm also emphasized this meaningless repetition with his orders and contradictions. Both the clip and Endgame were sustained on dialogue, without much actually occurring. The play, the clip, happened, but then what? Nothing happened in either, but there is room for interpretation of the nature of absurdity.

  24. 1. I noticed some similarities in the themes of Act Without Words and Endgame. The first one that stuck out to me the most was cyclical and repetitive nature of beginnings and endings. Endgame's opening lines repeat the word "finished," and the rest of the play hammers away at the idea that beginnings and endings are intertwined, that existence is cyclical. the story about the tailor, which juxtaposes its conceit of creation with never-ending delays, Hamm and Clov's killing the flea from which humanity may be reborn, or the numerous references to Christ, whose death gave birth to a new religion, death-related endings in the play are one and the same with beginnings. And this could easily be seen in An Act Without Words. Throughout the film, the main character is constantly going through cycles. Each cycle begins with a whistle, then the character will pick something up, and lastly use the materials to create some way of getting the water. And when it doesn't work, the cycle starts all over again, and the character puts everything back to where they were originally.
    Another common theme is of course, emptiness and loneliness. This is of course obvious and easy to see in An Act Without Words. The character is alone in a desert. And in Endgame there is constant tension whether Clov will leave Hamm or not. He threatens to and does sometimes, but he is never able to make a clean break. Likewise, Hamm continually tells Clov to leave him alone but pulls him back before an exit is possible.

    2. Viewing the filmed production of Endgame was kind of a let down for me. I mean it really helped me understand the play better. I got to see exactly what Beckett was trying to describe to me. And that was nice, because I always have some difficulty imagining what the description looks like. But the film actually made the play kind of boring to me. And it wasn't as funny as I expected. It seemed to be more funny, when we were reading it in class.

  25. 1. Act Without Words, just emphasized Beckett's style and gave me a better understanding of the meaning behind his work. Similar to what Jennifer said, in both plays, the characters do not get what they want. Act Without Words, Endgame, and Charlie Rose, all show character than do not get what they want. Though there pursuits are thorough all characters are left in a situation lacking understanding and there ideal situation.
    3. The clip and Endgame are very similar in style and plot. In both selections there is a lack of plot, which is the basis of the piece. One character is trying to make meaning of the situation, and another takes the meaning away. In the youtube clip, while one character is asking meaningful questions and trying to get answers, the other simply replies with random answers that are not understood by the other character. Like most of Beckett's work, the actions of the characters is strait forward and the audience struggles to find meaning behind it. In Endgame, the dialogue between the characters is often flowing and they seem to understand each other more than the characters in Charlie Rose. Contrary, in Charlie Rose, the characters struggle to find meaning behind each others words and actions. So it seems that the characters in Endgame have more closure on the situation than those in the youtube clip.

  26. 2. Watching Endgame performed was helpful in that I understood the set better, but distracting in that the way the dialogue was interpreted and portrayed. For example, when watching the exchange between Nagg and Nell, I was annoyed at how different the interpretation of the exchange was from how I imagined it. When I read for it, I imagined two senile elders, confused as to life outside of their trash bins. In fact, I thought that the confusion was why they were consigned to the trash bins. In the movie, though, they were just two very old people, wrinkled and gray but still cognizant. I think the reason why I didn't like the movie was because in the play, I could add emphasis to the moments I felt were particularly good, no matter how subtle they are. In the movie, it was broken up into mumbling and sound bytes, over and over. It was no where close to as enjoyable as reading it.

    3. In "Charlie Rose by Samuel Beckett", nothing happens. This is similar to Endgame. Charlie Rose's style is characterized by jerky and unconnected movement and strange pauses, as well as unsettling moments of self-awareness. All of these are spotlit in Endgame. In addition, if I were to accept Charlie Rose as an allegory for Endgame, it would contain a nod towards the theory that all characters in Endgame are part of Hamm. The inane arguing and pointless conversations and tangents also remind me of Endgame.

  27. 2. It may be that I was a bit out of it while we were watching the filmed version of Endgame thanks to the cold I had coming on, or it may have been that I was distracted because people kept knocking on the classroom door, but honestly, watching the film neither added to nor detracted from my understanding of the play. Because the play has so little actually going on, I found no real difference between viewing the movie and listening to the readthrough of the play that we did in class last week. I had already heard the words once, and hearing them again did nothing. Actually, reading the stage directions for certain actions (Clov's messing about with the ladder at the beginning, for example) was more entertaining than seeing them performed.
    The only bits of the movie that I could say I enjoyed (as opposed to the neutral, slightly irritated feeling I got watching the rest) were those involving Nagg and Nell, though I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe because they offered a bit of variety with all of Clov's annoyance and Hamm's prattling.

    3. It makes sense enough to me to draw a connection between the Charlie Rose clip and Endgame. The two characters remain in one place and return to the same topics repeatedly. The dialogue is absurd and meaningless. There are long pauses. The biggest difference between the two is probably that, obviously, the clip is more condensed. The repetition is funnier to me because it all happens in a shorter time and seems a bit more absurd--"Google." "..." "Google." "..." "Google." "No, we're not gonna do that."--whereas in the play it can take a few pages or more before Hamm says "We're getting on" again, and by that point I want to say, "Seriously? I thought we'd managed to escape from this." To put it simply, the clip manages to say nothing in a mere three and a half minutes, whereas Endgame stretches the nothing out into an hour and a half or so.

  28. 2. While only reading the dialogue, there are moments where the audience misses the absolute absurdity of the characters’ condition and actions in Endgame. They do not fully grasp that Clov limps, cannot picture Nill and Nagg in the trash bins, nor picture the utter bleakness of the room. These conditions are better portrayed and understood in the play. In the same way, the stage directions were also absent as we read although they contributed greatly to the absurd. Reading the script, holds only a vague semblance of the main idea, which is further concreted by the portrayal in the play. Throughout the video, I could fully grasp what was so absurd about Beckett’s work.

    At the same time, watching the video loses a bit of the absurdity. I (as well as some others) began anticipating the subsequent actions and dialogue, hoping to enjoy them when they were said, “‘He is crying’, 'Then he’s living’”. The significance that we give these words contrasts their supposed meaningless nature. We, as the audience, begin eliminating the absurdity of the play. Overall, watching the play added depth to the absurdity portrayed by Beckett. However, the choice of watching the video AND reading the script took away from the experience.

    3. Both videos hold complete futility. Just as Beckett creates repetition in the beginning of his work (Clov’s trek between the two windows), Rose begins to repeat the same words. These actions are completely pointless and serve no other purpose, other than to waste time. They emphasize the fact that nothing is occurring, although things are taking place - Charlie Rose speaks to himself, but he does not say anything. Hamm speaks to Clov (who is a part of himself), but they also do not say anything. Even the dialogues do not reach a climax. There is no consensus, beginning, or end in the conversations. In both works, the characters end in the same position that they begin in. These works are absurd through their repetition and utter insignificance.

  29. 1. "Act Without Words"* was in many ways similar to "Endgame" even in a literal sense -- Clov in "Endgame" and the mime of "Act Without Words" both answer to a whistle, both do not know why, both are confined and isolated, and both become entirely disenchanted with their situations. Of course, each of these similarities contributes to a much deeper connection between the two. The obedience exhibited by Clov and the mime works to demonstrate the absurd cycle they endure -- constantly doing the same things over and over again, without knowing why, much like Sisyphus (although he knew why, and the mime's situation is actually much more similar to the myth of Tantalus, who stood in water that receded every time he tried to drink it and under a tree which lifted its branches every time he tried to reach for fruit as his punishment -- however, futility is a common theme of both myths). Their confinement might represent alienation -- Clove is confined to the house, and the mime is confined to a small area of desert onto which he is repeatedly shoved after each escape attempt. In "Endgame," Hamm says "outside of here it's death." This is similar to the desert in "Act Without Words." Even though the mime can't leave, were he somehow to leave, he would probably die in the endless desert and desolation. It is implied that conditions outside the house in "Endgame" are similar. Finally, at the end of "Act Without Words," the mime realizes the futility of his actions and ignores the water completely, even when it hovers directly in front of his face. This is analogous to Clov finally deciding to leave Hamm, or at least ceasing to obey him (he doesn't really leave in the play, perhaps because he can't). In both cases, this apparent resignation actually may represent the only victory that the two characters can gain in such a situation, in not even trying.

    2. Seeing the film adaptation of Endgame was incredibly enlightening and I can't really see how one couldn't gain a greater understanding of the play from seeing it. Of course, the "general picture" can be derived from reading the script, and even some of the nuances from the stage directions, but other than that, all the important little details are missed in simply reading it. There is a great deal of interpretation that goes into figuring out how to play a character, how to execute a direction, even one line, and it is great to be able to see that. The subtle effects of timing, intonation and facial expressions are important to the play and simply can not be derived from the book, so I think it was vital and excellent to be able to watch the play, and I personally found the adaptation enjoyable. To claim that I gain as much from reading "Endgame" as from watching it would be to claim that I have equal knowledge of and experience with theatre as the professional actors and the director who brought the adaptation of the play into existence, who have spent much of their lives in the field, or it would be to admit that I care nothing for the subtleties of the work, that I am only concerned with the "broader picture." This is simply not the case.
    Furthermore, the film adaptation was also excellent in that the cinematography and direction were superb, and fit the play perfectly -- these two are things you would not be able to get even from a performance of the play on stage. I enjoyed how well the film was made as a film as much as I enjoyed how well the play was executed. I am very glad to have seen that adaptation.

  30. 2) I agree with JAZ on this one: watching the video was useless, and I liked watching Max yell at Mr. Sharp more than those random people yell at each other. The video was extremely dull and made me dislike the play more than I did before I watched it. When just reading the script, part of the experience of the play is imagining what the set actually looks like. With even this mental activity taken away, the play seemed a lot more dull than it was when I could imagine what the surroundings looked like and what the characters were doing for myself. Though some things (such as the tone of certain lines and the actions) were clarified, otherwise the film only made it clear to me how dull “Endgame” actually is. True, this did enhance my understanding of the film by showing how dry the play is when actually performed, but this only made me dislike it more than I did when it was being read in class. I understood the play (especially how uninteresting it was) much better after viewing the video, but I liked it much less because of this.

    3) Beckett’s “Endgame” begins like many stories do: in the middle of some people’s lives. It is expected that the circumstances surrounding these interactions will be explained, and by the end of the play, everything will make sense. However, this is not the case, which is exemplified in the YouTube clip. The clip starts as a normal interview would, but, like “Endgame,” soon spirals into an absurd dialogue without any speck of sense. The repetitive “Microsoft and Yahoo” mirrors the dialogue repeated in “Endgame,” such as when Hamm asks several times if it is time for his painkiller. The seemingly random “Steve is not happy” warning imitates several of the seemingly random thoughts that Hamm or Clov put into words in “Endgame.” However, because this footage came from an actual interview, seeing the characters say the same thing in the same tone of voice over and over (particularly the “Google.” “No.” “Google.” “No.” “Google.” “No, we’re not going to do that” bit) was more amusing than hearing them say the same thing multiple times in different tones of voice in the video version. The gaps of silence between lines in the video version were good replications of the abundant pauses written into “Endgame.” The ending line, “What’s gonna happen?” even mirrors the tendency of the actors in “Endgame” to comment on the play itself. As Ailie said earlier, the video is three minutes and thirty-seven seconds of absurd nothingness, while the play is an hour and a half of this meaningless dialogue.

    yahoo and windows
    yahoo or windows
    Steve will be angry!!

  32. 1) Act Without Words contains many of the same themes and concepts as Endgame. Both show the absurdity in striving for a goal in an indifferent world. In Endgame, Hamm continually orders Clov to look out the window, but to Hamm’s discontent, nothing has changed. Similarly, the mime in Act Without Words believes each object will bring him closer to the water, but his situation never changes. The random objects placed about the mime detract from any seriousness or meaning, similar to the dog and the ladder in Endgame. Both Hamm and the mime are marked by a physical handicap. Hamm, who is in a nearly empty room with no known function, cannot see. The mime, who is alone in a desert, cannot or does not speak. The characters’ disabilities show the uselessness of any physical trait in an indifferent world.

    The foreshadowing of death also contributes to the meaning of the plays. In Endgame, Nell’s death and the characters’ lack of reaction towards it is a reminder of the fate every human must face. In Act Without Words, the mime repeatedly raises the scissors to his hands, making the audience think he will kill himself. The plays end with the mime looking at his hands and Hamm saying “You…remain” to his father, leaving the audience to wonder how long Nagg and the mime will remain.

    3) Through meaningless dialogue, both Endgame and the Charlie Rose clip show the absurdity in life. The random interruptions of the interviewee are similar to those of Nell and Nagg. In both works, each sentence is understandable and easy to follow, but as a whole, do not make sense. Although the show host attempts to answer a serious question, he is met with the same meaningless repetitions. While some found it incredibly funny, I agreed with a particular YouTube critic. Videos do not have to be mind-numbingly boring to convey no message.

  33. 1. "Act Without Words" adheres to many of the themes present in Beckett's "Endgame". For one, the characters are "alone". In "Act Without Words", the only character in the play is alone in what seems to be a desert setting. The tremendously fiery sun beats down unmercifully upon the poor character, and he must face the challenges of survival alone. In "Endgame", Hamm and Clov are completely isolated from the rest of the world. Hamm claims that the outside is death. Another theme that is represented in "Act Without Words" is the theme of chess. Though chess makes more sense when associated with "Endgame", "Act Without Words" also shows many of the qualities of chess. The protagonist is trying to survive in the desert, and he certainly would not have without the constant desire of water. The character's constant efforts to obtain the vial of water resembles a player's perseverance to play through the game to the end. Even though the character can potentially get the water, he will ultimately die, either in the desert or elsewhere. The same theme of imminent death exists in "Endgame" where Hamm and Clov understand that death is near, but neither is willing to give up until the end.
    3. The youtube clip is quite confusing, though it appears the author has taken a video and randomly spliced snippets of the video together. The two people in the clip resemble each other, and are probably the same person. However, through seemingly subconscious banter they are able to communicate their thoughts to each other. This communication makes sense, since the two people are clearly the same person, and can understand itself much more easily than it can understand others. This theme is apparent in "Endgame" where the two main characters, Hamm and Clov, resemble each other. They have been together for many years, and their dialogues seem to melt together quite nicely, as if a single person is talking to himself. The people in the clip make a good couple, for one person talks random words, but the other steers the conversation. Hamm and Clov resemble the pair in the clip, but through the physical aspect. Hamm is blind and cannot walk, but he is smart and able to control Clov. Clov is able to see and has working bipedal abilities, but he is under the control of Hamm. The constant back and forth dialogue that is apparent in the clip is close to the style of "Endgame", for both pieces contain melding couples that are capable of conjuring a somewhat interesting, if not boring, play out of absolutely nothing.

  34. 1) Act Without Words and Endgame both share many of the same themes, which build upon each other. Both show the meaningless of life and the struggle to try and reach an impossible goal. Act Without Words amplifies Endgame's goals of hopelessness. The mime is symbolically struggling to find meaning in life, but it simply does not exist, so he ignores it at the end after becoming depressed and losing everything he has. This copies Beckett's style in Endgame where the characters try to find meaning in their choices but cannot because it does not exist. Beckett believed nothing was funnier than unhappiness, which is clear through the misery that all the characters suffer. Clov and the mime both answer to whistles, even though it nly brings despair and unhappiness later. Also, all the characters are bound to die soon, because the mime has no food or water in the middle of the desert, and Clov hints to running out of food when he says his plants aren't growing and he is out of everything others want. Endgame seems to take place in a post apocalyptic world with no other life, and a stagnant environment surrounding Hamm's oasis. The mime happens to run into a tree in the middle of the desert, creating a shady oasis in the middle of the barren desert around him.

    3) Beckett's Charlie Rose is amusing for the first couple of times the questioner and the interviewee cut each other off with some seemingly random phrase, but as it advances, it takes after a remix that shadows Endgame with the lack of a plot. Both Endgame and Charlie Rose only exist because of the dialogue, but unlike Endgame, which has no meaning, Beckett seems to be saying something about Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google on a literal level. Hamm and Clov repeat the same routine endlessly, just as how the people in the interview keep saying the same thing. Neither play answers any questions that are asked, with the characters preferring to avoid the topic or switch to a different subject. The interviewer and Clov share the same role in their dramas. Clov keeps saying he will run away, but never does, just as how the interviewer says he won't play the game where the two repeat the same word, but he also gives in.

  35. 1.
    _Act without Words_, like _Endgame_, is all about absurdity. In the case of _Act without Words_, there is some sort of force that keeps him from breaking out of the confines of his own, personal desert hell. There is no good reason for this, however, and, no matter how many times the lone character attacks it, he makes no progress. In the case of _Endgame_, none of the characters is allowed to leave the confines of the room on the pretext that outside lies "death," whatever that might mean (in truth, that does not mean anything.)

    The absurdity of _Act without Words_ has another dimension: the sudden, indescribable appearance of things that the lone character requires to survive. Although it is quite enough to contemplate who or what might be supplying him, it is also interesting to contemplate whether that character or what that character is doing means anything. At the end of the _Act_, the character refuses the assistance of water that floats *immediately in front of him.* Why? Perhaps it did not matter to him. Part of the absurdity of _Endgame_ revolves around the rat: why is there a rat? If death lies without, how is there a rat? Better yet, does it matter? In truth, it does not: it is merely absurd, fitting in with the scenery.

    The most fundamental change in my understanding of _Endgame_ from the film was in the pacing of the dialogue. I had the impression that _Endgame_ was more about art criticizing itself, especially with the frequent "[pause]" and "Good." The purpose of these seems to have been interpreted differently for the film: the pauses were used simply to make the dialogue coherent, and "Good" was more a verbal tic than a cue to ponder. Another unexpected thing about the performance was the interpretation of "[angrily]." I thought that the response would be vicious, almost cutting off the former speaker. However, it reflected annoyance more than anything, as I thought.

  36. 1)Act Without Words shares many ideas with Endgame, but makes them much more obvious. In both plays, the characters are trapped by something outside of their control. Seeing Act Without Words helped me to understand that theme, as the man in the desert is stuck in the horrible heat, and nothing he can do can change it. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t reach the water, and he can’t escape the sun. The feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are present in both plays, and Beckett makes it clear that he is creating a metaphor for life. Everyone is trapped by death---there is no escaping it---a cheerful notion if I ever heard one.

    2)Watching Endgame did give me a bit more perspective and help me to connect with the characters more. When we read it in class, I found myself reading faster in my head than the people reading it aloud were speaking, so watching it happen without the lines in front of me made it easier to pay attention to inflection and actions. As we read in class, I didn’t have the time to read all of the stage directions, which are crucial to understanding the characters. The play is, however, extremely long, and it was easy to zone out as we watched. I also struggled a bit with watching the play just after reading it.

  37. 1.Act without words is a more obvious portrayal of the themes in endgame. The character in Ac Without Words is constantly trying to get things like water and shade, but can never reach them. Basically, all of his actions are meaningless. This fits with Endgame's central theme that life means nothing.In addition to that, the man in Act Without Words is in the desert, obviously stranded, and meaninglessly trying to survive. The end is obviously coming, he just has a little bit more to go. So, his struggle is also an end game, just like the characters in Endgame who are just waiting to die.

    2. Watching the play did nothing for me. It was much less interesting than hearing it read in class. It was easier to see the stage directions obviously, but that was mostly all. I think that the dialouge lost a lot for me in the video, and I wasn't able to follow it as well as I was in class. The video was much slower paced, and seemed less interesting. I think it was an experience I could've done without. I don't think my understanding of the play was made better by it. Mostly it just made me sleepy.

  38. 1. “Act Without Words” illuminates Endgame’s theme of the limits and general futility of communication. The mime’s anguish is conveyed physically without the assistance of words, making the play, despite being as absurd as Endgame, more accessible and understandable than Endgame itself, which is dominated by dialogue. Both works also have unity and continuity of place and time—that is, they start and finish in the same location and ultimately preserve the status quo. Nothing really changes. Clov may look like he’s going to leave, but he is aware of his attachment to this odd, physical world and likewise recognizes the real possibility of existence vanishing permanently outside of it. In “Act Without Words,” the mime’s fruitless escape attempts are analogous to Clov’s half-hearted threats of leaving Hamm. Both Clov and the mime try to cope with the laws operating an irrational world and attempt to explore the actual confines of their freedom. The efforts of both are always stifled, and the two end up accepting the absurd natures of their existences. This is explicit in “Act Without Words,” but it must be imagined in Endgame. Clov is forever attached to something he can claim to at least slightly understand.

    2. The production of Endgame certainly gave a bit of dimension to an otherwise two-dimensional play. The finite, isolated area enclosed by the room’s walls—unlike the boundless stage I envisioned for this play—probably created the cramped atmosphere and sense of immobility that Beckett desired for this play. The interpretations of emotions and behaviors of the characters by their actors made them more understandable and more enjoyable to watch. Clov’s pronounced handicap and the portrayal of each character’s caprices helped define the strange relations between the figures, and good use of extended pauses made the world seem more spatial and natural. The actions I didn’t really understand in the stage directions were carefully acted out in the production, which showed how inescapable, monotonous, and irrational the world is to Hamm and Clov.

  39. 2) Although the play accurately matched the content of the play, it did not live up to my own expectations because the movie did not maintain the humor that I found in the written version. The characters were definitely as strange as they are meant to be, but the actors did not make the portrayal entertaining or interesting. Maybe its that the scenery never changes, or that the characters rarely move that makes the movie dull. I did not understand the side plot of the parents in the trashcan, if it can even be called a plot, because it was irrelevant to the rest of the story. However, in the written play, the trash people were amusing and added to the plot and message of the story. In the movie, I had difficulty comprehending the dialogue because the actors talked quickly and in a British accent, which are hard to understand generally in movies. I'm comparing watching the movie to watching a snapshot of a scene from the movie because nothing really happens.
    3) The first resemblance I see between Endgame and the Charlie Rose clip is the insane, irrelevant dialogue between characters. Like in Endgame, the dialogue is irrelevant because it does not fit into any specific plot (further into the clip), and it does not advance the plot along. However, this is the point of the pieces, because the random conversations between the characters are what makes them so entertaining to begin with. The youtube clip was simply a spoof of Endgame, spoofing the fact that nothing relevant ever truly happens throughout the entire play.

  40. 1. "Act Without Words" helped to illuminate the themes of Endgame by depicting to cycle of existence in one quick mime. Endgame, which went into great detail in showing the minute-by-minute happenings of the remaining players near 'the end,' left it to the audience to picture what it would have been like at the beginning or middle. To agree with Danny, the mime in "Act Without Words" mirrored Clov in his struggle to escape existence, represented by the stage. While the whistle in "Act Without Words" drew the mime away from existence, the whistle in Endgame drew Clov towards existence, but the whistle noise in each work acted as direction for otherwise lost human beings. "Act Without Words" made clear the idea that the directions humans go in always lead to satisfying a need or thirst. Because of this we simply go on existing, and after a seemingly endless cycle we all come to the end.
    2. The film, though it seemed unnecessary, also made clear Beckett's intentions in Endgame. While I enjoyed listening to the play in class, I still did not understand the physical world Beckett was trying to depict and therefore needed to see the scene represented visually. The gray room helped to illustrate the theme of dark and light, whereas a reading of the play left me imagining a completely white room. The bins were trash bins instead of strange modern coffins like I had invisioned. The subtle details all play into the themes Beckett wanted to get across.

  41. (1)Watching Act Without Words helps illuminate the themes from Endgame in that they both connect with each other. The characters from both stories find themselves in this meaningless world, doing the same monotonous routine over and over. The man from Act Without Words lives trying to reach water, which always seems to escape his reach. He goes though this agonizing routine over and over, always finding new ways to get to the water but at the end never reaching it. Endgame has the same sense of meaningless monotony. Clov at the beginning of the play moves from one side to the other, taking the latter with him he does this for certain time as if it were a morning routine he’s gotten use to. This is Beckett’s main theme portrayed—life is meaningless and a on-going routine.

    (2)Watching Endgame allowed me to see the characters and their actions more clearly. Watching their actions set an emphasis of the theme of absurdism. Endgame is a play about nothing, and I could crearly see this after watching it. Also they set became more clear after watching, for after having read it, it wasn’t as clear as it is now.

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  43. 1) Act without Words stresses the utter pointlessness of life. It pokes fun of how people are forever striving for things they cannot have and makes it seem a most ridiculous pursuit. End Game exudes these same messages, only put into words. Act without Words illuminates the view of our human lives being like a game for some superior being to amuse themselves with.

    3) Its rather difficult to tell, but I think this clip is ridiculing the pointless circles made by the part of society that concerns themselves with the things that really do not make a difference in the universe. The dialogue is rambling and nonsensical - similar to the style of End Game. The spirit of Samuel Beckett’s plays captured the irrelevant, trivial events that people go through daily, and this YouTube clip highlights those precisely.

  44. 1.) The main idea behind Act Without Words is the existence of a character who is only able to react to elements of his environment beyond his control. No matter what he does in order to accomplish something, these elements could still randomly change (like the water bottle hanging from a string). In this way, he is simply being toyed with by the controller of these elements, the playwright. Although he is in a way controlled by his creator, he lacks a purpose. At the beginning of the play he is thrown onstage and goes on to react to whatever is thrown at him. However, although he doesn't have a preset purpose, he is still confined by the playwright, so he is unable to give himself a purpose, and is extremely unhappy as a result of his futile existence. This underlines similar ideas found in Endgame. Although the characters wander from one idea to the next, exercising their free will, they are contained by whatever the playwright writes. Just like the lone character in Act Without Words, they weren't given a purpose, but they are also unable to give themselves any kind of purpose.
    3.) The most obvious element that the youtube clip shares with Endgame is the way the characters jump from one idea to the next with no transition. Just as Hamm changes his mind and goes from telling a story to asking if it's time for his painkiller, Charlie Rose's interviewee jumps from discussing the rising stocks of Google and Yahoo to explaining that Steve is not happy. Of course, the reasons for these illogical chains of events are in Endgame's case the playwright and in Charlie Rose's case the filmmaker. This goes back to the idea expressed in Act Without Words and Endgame that characters can have no purpose because their controller directs their actions so strictly. The characters in the interview clearly don't have purpose (as their conversation leaves the viewer with no clear picture of what they were discussing) but at the same time their words have been cut out for them by the filmmaker, giving them no free will.

  45. 1.)
    The man in Act Without Words, who henceforth shall be called “the mime,” is, at essentially, the same character as Clov in Endgame. The only differences between the two are their physical circumstances and the existence of speech in Endgame. On the most basic level, both Clov and the mime are similar in that they both respond to a whistle. Neither character knows why they respond to it and each are reluctant at times to respond to it, but both obey it nonetheless. Additionally, like the mime, Clov tries to escape his confinement, telling Hamm that he is going to leave him. However, both the mime and Clov realize at the end that there is no point in escaping. Throughout Endgame, the land outside of the house is portrayed as desolate and without life. Hamm even says, after Clov threatens to leave him, “Outside of here it's death,” showing the futility of escape. Likewise, the mime knows there is no point in escaping his little box in the desert because there is no way the land outside can support life. Both Clov and the mime decide to live miserably in confinement instead of dying in freedom. This decision by both characters highlights the theme of existentialism, because though both the mime and Clov have no purpose in life in confinement, they choose to live in meaninglessness instead of escaping it. The physical manifestation of purpose in life in Act Without Words is the water, which the mime makes clumsy attempts to attain. This is representative of man’s clumsy attempts to find purpose through religion and philosophy. Clearly, as the mime eventually gives up, Beckett believes that neither is worth it and can never truly help humanity get “the water.” In Endgame, purpose manifests itself verbally, as, when asked what keeps them there, Hamm answers, “The dialogue,” and Clov accepts the answer. As the mime gives up on the water, Clov and Hamm eventually give up on the dialogue, as Hamm lies motionless at the end of the play.

    Reading Endgame differed greatly from watching it because these different ways of experiencing the play highlighted different aspects of it. Reading the play, one cannot possibly comprehend everything that is going on. Either the reader has to skip the stage directions to keep the dialogues flowing, or he has to read the directions and interrupt the back and forth dialogue between Clov and Hamm. The former is important in understanding how pathetic all four of the characters’ lives are, whereas the latter keeps the reader from connecting with Clov and Hamm’s feeling of futility and meaninglessness. It is impossible to grasp everything that Beckett puts into the play from merely reading it. This is how watching the play can be a better experience than reading it. One can see Clov limping around and performing the same duties over and over and be able to understand the futility of his actions. However, watching the play takes away from the imaginative aspects that a reader is able to grasp. Reading Endgame, one gains the ability to imagine what is going on for oneself. This makes reading Endgame a more personal experience, thus allowing the reader to better connect to the uselessness of Clov and Hamm’s dialogue and actions. Additionally, the reader can create the voices of Clov and Hamm in the reader’s head, instead of having a set voice for Clov and Hamm. Because of these things, it is important for everyone wanting to fully experience Endgame to both read and watch the play, in that order. If one watches the play before he reads it, the setting seen in the play will become cemented in his head, taking away all of the benefits of reading it.

  46. The post above from "Mia" is from me, but my sister forgot to log off from her email so my response was posted under her "name".

  47. Josh Trubowitz
    Both "Act Without Words" and "Endgame" work to highlight the circular nature of life, that everything ends where it begins. There is no way to branch off of this circle, and thus no way to grow in life for everything is futile, we are all condemned to the same fate. Humankind strives to reach the unattainable, and it is this that is the absurdity of our existence. We, by our very nature, look for the light at the end of the tunnel, but Beckett would have us know that it is not there. The man tries time and time again to reach the water, which represents the essence of life (nothing can exist without water), but can never reach it and after all his futile efforts is back where he began.

    Seeing the play performed served two main purposes. First, stage directions became much more clear. I had trouble visualizing some of the movements around the set while reading Endgame (Clov's entrance, for example), but seeing it performed tied all the loose ends. Watching the play also allowed for a heightened understanding of Beckett's use of visual elements such as light, and made the audience feel more in touch with the characters, as their emotions could be plainly seen. Generally, watching the play led to a better understanding and appreciation of it.

  48. Amy Anderson

    2) Viewing the filmed production of Endgame didn’t help my understanding of the play in the least. Reading it was more than enough. The filmed version contained nothing that the play didn’t have, except unnecessary dramatic camera movement. The camera would zoom in to each area, and focus on what was going on, as if to say “This is important! Pay attention!”
    At one point, Hamm asks Clov “We're not beginning to... to... mean something?” which is defeated by the fact that the camera has zoomed in to the point where we can’t even see the windows. The camera is telling us that Hamm is important even as he says he doesn’t want to be.
    3) It’s pointless. The entire conversation seems to have no purpose, just like Endgame. The conversation gets nowhere. The people get nowhere. Charlie doesn’t appear to be able to comprehend the questions he is asked, let alone come up with an answer. The dialogue consists mainly of “google”, “yahoo”, and “no”.
    Charlie also says “you would know this much more than I do” which I think also represents the spirit of Endgame. If there is any meaning in the play, the audience must come up with it for themselves. There is no inherent meaning in either Charlie Rose or Endgame.

  49. 1. "Act Without Words" effectively illustrates the ideas presented in "Endgame". In "Act Without Words", a hapless man is faced with a completely mundane world of sand and sun and no hope of escape or comfort. He is forced into a crooked game, a sort of cat and mouse, where he continuously chases after a glass of water, but is never able to reach it. This reflects the main theme from "Endgame", that life is basically a pointless world of incredibly pointless tasks, for you are never actually able to reach an ultimate goal. "Act Without Words" illustrates this point more effectively, simply because the man is constantly trying to achieve a simple thing, but cannot, and eventually gives up. "Endgame" is simply people trying to find their routine and something to keep themselves occupied while they wait for the end.

    2.By watching the film of "Endgame" I was more fully able to understand the incredibly dull existence the people in the play live out. Watching the film was rather difficult, seeing as there was no plot whatsoever. But it did give me an insight as to why the play was so unpopular at first to those who did not understand Beckett's intent. Also, by seeing a visual presentation of the play rather than leaving it to my imagination, it was easier to understand the physical positioning of the characters and their movements.

  50. 1. Act Without Words highlights several themes that are present in Endgame, including loneliness and isolation (as well as dependency and companionship), the absurdity of existence, and cyclicality or life. The Mime in Act Without Words is completely alone in his desert, accompanied only by his invisible whistler and the objects the whistler provides. This would express both the idea of isolation and the objective existentialism, that there is only a physical existence, for he only has objects. This contrasts directly with the relationship of Hamm and Clov. Hamm and Clov are mutually dependent, though each would like the other to leave or to be able to leave, and yet cannot bring themselves to end, to close the relationship. Clov cannot leave completely, while Hamm can never bring himself to totally send Clov away. Also, regarding the absurdity of life, the actions of the Mime, Clov, and Hamm are all meaningless ultimately, none can attain their goal, their end. The Mime never receives his water, Clov never is able to leave, Hamm is never able to make Clov leave. Thus, all are attempts to perform these actions have no ultimate meaning. FInally, the repetitive actions of the three, Clov always having to return for something to complete his next action (for example, the very first part where he continually returns for the boxes), the same on the mime's part (always returning with the boxes and placing them back in the same place), and the necessity of Hamm to return to the center all exemplify the cyclicality of life. Each action shows its face again and again, and one wonders if any character will ever break their cycle.

    2. Seeing the play in film form rater than script only slightly affected my perception of it. The movie allowed me to grasp a more concrete stage for the presentation, grabbed the interest a bit more, and added more emotion to the performance. Originally it was dull, while ingenious, and obtuse. In film it was only slightly less so. However, the film did present a better physical aspect, helping me see the loneliness, isolation, character portrayal, and futility more. Though I understood the themes well from the simple reading, the movie granted the play much more emotion, much more color. Though it did give more meaning, it did help one keep awake more easily, and more interested.

  51. 1. Act Without Words helps illuminate the theme of hopelessness from Endgame. The man in Act Without Words continuously tries to reach the water, every time having it pulled out of his grasp, yet he repetitively falls for this farce. Finally at the end of the play he gives up and ignores the water. This continual idea of going through the actions without hope of results is the only plot of Endgame. In Endgame Hamm and Clov go through the actions of arguing, Clov threatening to leave, and Hamm telling him he can’t. Within this repetitive cycle they also have the repetitiveness of Nell’s joke, Nell and Nagg’s begging for food, Hamm’s requests for painkillers, and the checking of the windows. All of these repetitive actions make up the semblance of a plot that threads the whole play together. These actions that are repeated without hope of new outcomes are illuminated by the visual representation of the same them in Act Without Words where the man continues to pursue the water, following the same organized steps of getting the boxes, or rope, or scissors, attempting to get the water, having it pulled from his reach, and then replacing all of the items back where they originally started. This repetitive search for the water even when he knows it is futile is the same constant them as represented by the characters of Endgame constant repetitive motions at living a life with interest.

    3. The YouTube clip is stylistically similar to Samuel Beckett’s Endgame in its sparse, lacking in plot, question inducing dialogue. The use of only dialogue without any actual plot is highly prevalent in both pieces. Within this dialogue both Endgame and the YouTube clip have repetitive ideas. In Endgame they consistently repeat the farce of leaving, checking the windows, and asking for painkillers. In the YouTube clip they repeat the words Microsoft, yahoo, and Google. This Dialogue without plot leads to many questions, such as the line “Steve is unhappy” in the YouTube clip, as we do not know who Steve is or why he is unhappy this allows for many interpretations and questions as the dialogue of Endgame does. The sparse dry delivery of the dialogue in both of these pieces is also similar as is the use of limited set – just a room for Endgame and solely a table and blacked out background for the YouTube clip. This sparse style continues in the amount of characters – Endgame only having four, and the YouTube clip only having two copies of Charlie Rose. Overall these similar styles are defined by the sparse surroundings and characters, lack of plot, and the repetitive and question inducing dialogue.

  52. 1. Considering the idiosyncratic nature of the two works in question, and especially considering the lack of dialogue in Act Without Words, the only way to discuss how one illuminates the themes of the other is through an examination of their shared traits. The first of these commonalities is a similarity in setting in that, even though the locations, a sunny desert and a dark room, are quite superficially different, each is similar in that it traps the character(s) within it. Every seeming escape from the set, such as Clov going to the kitchen in Endgame or the man running off stage in Act Without Words, is resolved by that character reentering the stage whether because of some attachment to other characters as in Clov's case or by physical impediment as in Act Without Words. In either case the result is the same. The characters must act within their world as there is no escape other than death, which the characters face in both plays either from old age or exposure. Shared between the works is also a sense of struggle for what is not available. In Act Without Words this is easily manifested in the man's constant struggle, like an absurdist Tantalus, for water that is always just beyond his grasp, while Endgame shows this in the endless repetitive dialogue between Hamm and Clov about the availability of painkillers, or the weather, or Clov's physical condition. Both works also conclude these struggles in such a way as to provide no resolution for the audience at all. None of the characters get what they want because there are no more painkillers or there is no longer any will to reach out and grab the water, and, in doing so, Beckett reflects the pointlessness of a life that will inevitably fade into death. This view could quickly be contorted into nihilism, but Beckett refutes this by allowing the plays to share an element of lowbrow slapstick humor. Act Without Words features the man carrying boxes back and forth, stacking them in a precarious manner, and falling over and over while Endgame depicts Clov running back and forth to get a ladder and Hamm trying to move his chair around like a row boat. All these scenes add levity to the plays and serve as a statement that life, though it must end in death, is still something to be enjoyed.

    3. In terms of mimicry, the Charlie Rose remix clip reflects the spirit of Samuel Beckett by copying his style while managing to remain funny by leaving out all his intellectual heft. To answer this question fully, one must first define what Samuel Beckett's style is. From my limited exposure to his works my sense is this- the expression of the "absurdity" of life through the use of seemingly random dialogue (seemingly because it often does have a point, such as the commentary on the play itself that is inserted into Endgame), lack of a distinct story arc, and the occasional use of cheap comedy. The important aspect is that his plays do have a message and a point about life, and this is what is missing from the Youtube clip. Instead of being a facsimile of his work in a different medium, the short film is based on the popular and shallow image of Beckett as someone who writes plays with no point, dialogue that goes nowhere, and stories that epitomize dullness. This can be seen clearly in the clip's description of how "The erudite conversations and sober intellectualism have been replaced by an absurd world where illogic, inane dialogues, and open hostility rule" because all the qualities listed are superficial ones of Beckett's work. Despite missing Beckett's intellectual depth, the clip does a fantastic job of replicating the feeling of his writing. The extensive use of pauses is spot on and the way that random comments can produce unexpected outbursts of anger is highly reminiscent of Clov's anger at being asked over and over if it is time for the painkillers yet.

  53. 1. How does Act Without Words help illuminate any themes from Endgame?

    Endgame and Act Without words clearly are all about absurdity, the human condition, pointlessness, and all that jazz. Both are single acts, in a single setting, with unchanging characters who never leave. For the audience this would be painfully boring, if not for the dialogue and movement which takes place therein. Just as the mime of Act Without Words continually tries to escape the small patch of desert to which he has been confined, so too does Clove try to exit the stage, and does Estragon say "Let's go. We can't. Why not? We're waiting for Godot" or the women of Come and Go get off the bench, and get back on, never actually leaving the premises. It is this constant futile movement, lacking any real desire to escape, that twists the knife in the wound of the audience. There is a clear progression of repeated events, never exact in nature, but essentially the same. Like Sartre's bad faith, there is a kind of 'bad memory' that is ubiquitous in Beckett's plays: the mime of AWW tries over and over to go for the water, never taking the hint that the water will only be raised higher each time he tries. Clov and Hamm are clearly aware of their relationship to each other, and Nag and Nell remember their courtship, but they refuse to remember to leave, or to do anything. Nagg begs his 'pap,' Estragon begs his carrot, day in day out. Estragon barely believes that he and Vladmir have come back to the same spot everyday, going to far as to intentionally change his memory of the color of his shoes. As does the Mime of AWW move in circles, so do the women of Come and Go, and does Hamm, pushed on his wheelchair by Clov. I am reminded of a hamster on a wheel.

    3. This is a fun one. In what ways does the YouTube clip represent the spirit of style of Samuel Beckett's Endgame?

    The similarites are rather obvious. The repitiontion of certain phrases, the nonsense, and the confinement of the setting. Endgame has a number of phrases that are repeated, like 'me to play' and ' we're getting on' just like GOOGLE GOOGLE YAHOO or whatever. The two characters, the interviewer and the interviewee are keeping totally serious expression throughout, as if their conversation makes some sense to them. In fact it makes total nonsense, as does most of Hamm's soliloquy, or Whoroscope, but there's an onus to pretend that it makes some sense, 'to pass the time' as says Estragon periodically in waiting for Godot. Beckett's plays all take place in one setting, and this retarded interview thingy is most similar to Come and Go, or Not I, if only because of the total darkness surrounding the subjects. The significance of this shrouding is that it creates a curious paradox between the subject's confinement to the single space of the play, (as if the rest of the world does not even exist) and the face that the rest of the world clearly does exist in some way. Rose is talking about real-world companies, issues that clearly would not effect him, nestled in this spotlight in the dark. Estragon dreams of walking in the Pyrenees, a place he will clearly never go.

  54. 1. Act Without Words showed to a greater degree the pointlessness and absurdity of any activity in life. Seeing the man in the desert try and fail at everything he does was more obvious than the rambling dialogue and incomprehensible plot of Endgame and was easier to connect to. The man in the desert had a more tangible futility than the characters in Endgame. Act Without Words also utilized some of the same sense of humor as Endgame- the man in the desert’s constant attempts to reach the water or find comfort were reminiscent of Clov’s bit with the ladder and the telescope. The humor in Act Without Words is also connected to Nell’s line in Endgame, “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.”

    2. I found the filmed production of Endgame to be much more dull than reading it aloud in class. It was a struggle to stay awake, let alone stay engaged with the movie. The only positive thing I can say about the filmed version is that it helped me visualize Beckett’s stage directions better. I didn’t have a problem visualizing them while reading Endgame in class (possibly because of previous theater experience?) but the movie set brought more to the play than I imagined. Other than that, I don’t really believe it helped me understand Endgame any better. Perhaps seeing it onstage would have been better- I was often annoyed by the camera movements and focus which, like Amy A. said, forced the audience to focus on what was “important” at that moment. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the actors both had Irish accents when they spoke, which makes sense since Beckett was Irish but which I hadn’t expected. That didn’t add anything to the play in my opinion, but I know others had difficulty understanding them some of the time. Watching Endgame performed actually made me dislike the play, whereas after just reading it aloud in class I kind of liked it. I regret watching the filmed production.

  55. 2. Watching the actual film of Endgame helped me to understand how there is absolutely nothing happening, at all. It is much more difficult to envision a scene than to actually see the scene, which is why seeing it was helpful. As a result of the film version of Endgame I now know how pointless the play is. All of the play is one scene in which nothing happens. Pretty much the only movement we see from Hamm, the main character, is when Clov moves his chair about an inch. This is a play where nothing is happening, the film version of this play cements the idea into our minds.

    3. The YouTube clip shows a scene in which nothing is happening. Nothing is ever accomplished in this dialogue between the Charlie Rose and Charlie Rose, which is a parallel of the events (or lack thereof) in Beckett’s Endgame. Both films show a scene where absolutely nothing is occurring. They also both are incredibly repetitive and seem to go on for a lot longer than they need to. The ends of both films seem long overdue but also are rather abrupt. Both share many of the same elements that makes them both equally pointless.

  56. 2. Also, the color motif emphasized the unenthusiastic monotony of the play. When I read the play, I thought that the characters moved about a house (i.e. a living room and kitchen). However, the single room which characters occupy in the film added on to the fact that the story has no plot whatsoever, and shouldn't even be called a story.

  57. 1.
    In "Act Without Words," a man is thrown into a desert scene, illustrating existence. His existence is a mystery, the audience is unsure where he came from or what his future will be like. This is true for "Endgame" as well. The characters in "Endgame" are just there, not making decisive decisions or changing their routine. The man in "Act Without Words" also possesses traits of doing things just because it is routine, as seen when he uses the scissors. There was no immediate need to clip his nails, but when the scissors were given to the man, he used them just because they were there. In the end, the mans encounters with everyday objects such as the box, scissors, water, and rope proves futile. This theme of meaninglessness is also portrayed in "Endgame," as the character's routine moves do not matter, as they end up sharing a miserable fate. Both "Endgame" and "Act Without Words" possess dark, existentialism themes.

    Viewing "Endgame" acted out lessened the value and meaning of the play. While reading the play, I pictured nothingness: only two trashcans, a couple of windows, and a chair. The filmed version had a set, however, that looked like an old-fashioned room. The absurdity of the play was not well portrayed in the film, as the background was a common living room (just emptier). The film was preformed line-by-line, and was read exactly from the play. Thus, watching the film of "Endgame" did not contribute to my understanding of the play. In fact, I don't think that the film did the play justice. It is hard to symbolize absurdity and pointlessness in a film that requires a set. However, I will admit that the film cleared some of my confusion up. Reading stage directions during the play makes the dialogue lose its power. The play loses some of its meaning without the stage directions, but having to read them drags on the play and also causes the dialogue to lose its rhythm. By watching "Endgame," performed, the dialogue and actions went along smother with easier transitions.

  58. 2. Viewing the filmed version of the play helped me understand the stage directions of the play, and to understand the dynamics between the different characters in the play, but other than that, I felt like it served little to no purpose. Seeing the play was just as frustrating and boring as reading through it. I do not enjoy stories that have no plot or train of thought (this is why I cannot stand Catcher In The Rye...Holden Caulfield is a whiney, self-absorbed angst fountain). I could not really follow the play when we read through it in class, and I could not follow it any more when I watched it. I appreciated hearing Mr. Sharp beg Benji to kiss him more, since I could laugh at SOMETHING.

    3. The YouTube clip does a wonderful job of representing the broken, random flow Beckett writes in Endgame. Beckett's play is ridiculous when read aloud, since none of the thoughts correlate and there are random outbursts of random stuff in random places. However, there is a lot of random repetition of random stuff to contradict the random outbursts. The YouTube clip does a good job of showing Beckett's completely nonsensical dialogue. I enjoyed it more than watching the play.

  59. 2. Viewing the filmed production of Endgame gave me a better understanding of the actions of the characters. I hadn't been able to fully visualize some of the stage directions, and seeing the performance clarified the characters' actions. The performance also illustrated the monotony the characters were faced with. They’re confined to a single room, with the exception of Clov, who constantly wanders between two rooms. Seeing a simple background for the entire play showed the meaningless of their lives. Hamm and Clov’s conversation also made it clear that there was nothing happening through the play. This adaptation, however, was a lot less exciting than reading the play aloud because watching nothing happen is far less engrossing than hearing my classmates reading through the material.

    3. Charlie Rose and Endgame both show a futile and meaningless version of life. In both pieces, nothing happens, the only thing that keeps the characters moving is their strained conversation. This meaninglessness brings about the absurdity of life which both clips accurately portray. Both Endgame and Charlie Rose show the monotony that is the absurd life. Hamm and Clov argue about the same things throughout the play, as do the characters in the Charlie Rose clip. Both pieces succeed in leaving the viewer dumbfounded with what they’d just seen, and unsure of what they were supposed to gain from the experience.

  60. 2.
    I felt that viewing the filmed production of endgame did little to affect my understanding of the play. I was more engaged in class when we read it aloud and together and I was, in a way, forced to pay attention. i was able to understand the meaning of the play better through the animated voices of my classmates than the actual film. It helped to have the text in front of me to look at and to follow and to question. The text helped me to develop a more tangible understanding of the play and its message as an endgame.

    "Lol. wut?" this was my first response to the youtube clip. This is exactly the response that i had to Beckett's Endgame. They both seem silly, almost pointless, almost meaningless until one realizes that this is somewhat of the goal both authors have attempted to achieve. Both fail to make any forward progress and through this communicate the absurdity of life. They both seem to give meaning to this absurdity through being absurd.

  61. 1.How does Act Without Words help illuminate any themes from Endgame?

    Endgame’s main topic is about nothing as it is simply 2 men arguing on for a typical daytime activity. They go through the play, which is presumably a representation of their lives, and talk. They sometimes try to be productive, without success, and repeatedly go through the same processes. These aspects are also present in Act Without Words where the main character tries to complete different tasks, such as swinging the rope over the branch, or more noticeably, trying to reach the water. He is unsuccessful in most everything he tries, and when the water is finally dangled in front of him, he does not want it any more. In the end of the play, the man has completed nothing besides in the act of trying. There is no actual end product to be taken out of this, besides the idea that nothing happened, just like in Endgame.

    2.How did viewing the filmed production of Endgame affect your understanding of the play?

    Whenever reading a piece of work, one has to try to guess how it is said with what tone, and what meaning is to be taken from the way it is presented. In a spoken play, however, the actors help show the signification by their emphasis on certain words and pauses. Reading Endgame was difficult to understand not only because the readers had to try to put their own emphasis on certain parts, but also because with even a partially boring reading such as this, finding the deeper message takes more effort. By viewing the performance, each individual’s imagination did not play as large a part in trying to put the stress in certain places to create the intended interpretation, but gave the viewers the ability to think about the larger picture the play was trying to show. This personally helped me in the way that it showed me the ways that the author wanted me to understand the play instead of the way I pictured it. Each different way seemed to open another door to choose from in order to understand.

  62. 1. "Act Without Words" noverbally exemplifies absurdist traits similar to those expressed in Endgame. In both performances, the characters realize how meaningless and painful their lives are, but are incapable of ending them. Both plays have no real plot, just "something taking its course". The unbearable suffering in life present in absurdist ideology, is expressed by the desert the man cannot escape in "Act Without Words" just as in the decrepit physical state of the characters in Endgame. The world in both is a desolate wasteland, with no comforts or beauty. What little comfort or shade there is either is taken away or lies just out of reach. The visual representation of the absurdity of life, felt starker to me than the rambling dialogue of Endgame. Though I enjoyed Endgame, I felt a greater impact from watching that man stumble around the desert, jumping at the sound of a whistle.

    2. Watching Endgame all at once, instead of over the course of a couple of classes helped me get a more visceral feel for the play, and how it drags out. While I enjoyed our class's interpretation of the text, seeing professional actors perform it helped me comprehend some of the subtleties in the play. Actually seeing the stage directions acted out, instead of just read, like Clove's limping, added further realism. I understood Beckett's intentions from the script, but seeing the absurdity moved it from conceptual to experiential.

  63. 1. "An Act Without Words I" is obviously about this one man trying to reach the cup of water - a game that the man is in in which he cannot seem to win. "Endgame" is simply two men making dialogue just for the sake of passing time before they reach the end (death). In "Endgame", Clov says many things that he desires to take action upon but never fully accomplishes them. For example, when he said he wishes to leave Hamm right away, he just stands there, continueing his dialogue as if he is glued to the ground and whatever he desires he can only say. This creates the meaningless and absurd theme to "Endgame" because the characters just talk to wait and pass time, and they even mention that they are trying not to create a meaning to their lives. This is reflected in "An Act Without Words" because the man uses everything he has to reach that single cup of water but in the end he fails, creating no meaning to his life. Both works are absurd due to their pointless dialogue (in Endgame) and action(in Act Without Words) but it is brilliant in a way of saying that life is basically time to accomplish something desireful but in the end, it is pointless and not all that great.

    3. The youtube clip was simply hilarious but had no point to it as did in "Endgame". The two men first start off their conversation about technology and money, as if to get somewhere in the interview and end up with something they can actually benefit from. But then (and I am aware that the film was purposely made the way it is...) one man says "google" and the other "no" almost as if the repetitive words are important in their conversation. This is just like when Clov and Hamm talk about their lives and how they are both trapped as who they are currently -the dialogue just runs on and on and never reaches a conclusion where the reader can actually say the play had any ending. Both works (and also Act W/Out Words) are just ... meaningless (cant think of any other word to best describe it) and they drag with simple words so as to at least make something of their time. At the end of the clip, the two men are continueing their repetitiveness and at the last second, the interviewer man reminds the audience of the main topic of his show and reasks the question he asked at the begining. So in a way, they both (the two men, not the two works..) dont find a solution to their question, so why all the pointless 'google' talk? This applies to Endgame as it is also filled with absurdity...
    (personally the youtube clip was very entertaining and fun to watch as with watching An Act Without Words because that film made you want to continue watching it to see how far the man will get...)

  64. 1. It seemed to me that 'Act Without Words' was had the same themes as 'Endgame' and was just a quicker and more obvious way of portraying those themes. In 'Endgame' Beckett showed the meaninglessness of life by Clov and Hamm's repetitive lives. In An Act without words Beckett displays how little meaning everything has too. He starts with nothing and ends up with nothing, giving no importance to what happened in the middle, although it occupied the man's attention and seemed to be the most important thing in 'An Act Without Words.' Both of the productions also depict existentialist absurdity.

    2. Seeing the filmed production didn't help me understand 'Endgame' any better than I already did. I saw the actions and relations between the characters created by the actors, but it did not contribute to the understanding of the play. I already knew the setting, the characters, the plot, the stage directions, the dialogue, and everything else that was in the play, and seeing it on screen did nothing but put me to sleep. Reading the play leaves the characters open to interpretation, but when the actors take on the roles of Clov and Hamm there is no room for interpretation of their personalities. I would say that reading the play is more informative than watching the movie.

  65. 1. Act Without Words features a man who is continually in search of water in the desert but can never obtain it. The water being continually just out of his grasp illuminates the theme of absurdity from Endgame. In Endgame, the characters Clov and Hamm argue pointlessly back and forth to pass the time. Clov’s repetitive actions, going back and forth around the room, is meaningless and serves the purpose to also portray life as meaningless. The man in Act Without Words wastes his efforts on reaching for the water, showing that his actions can never change his fate, thus saying that life has no point. Endgame ends how it begins just like Act Without Words. The characters end up at the same spot in their cycle, having not accomplished anything.

    2. While reading in class, it was difficult for me to imagine the actions and emotions of the characters. Because our classmates were reading Endgame out loud and not fully acting out the script, I could not fully comprehend the theme of absurdity within the play. By watching the film production, I was able to clearly see the triviality of the characters’ actions especially Clov’s and also the patchy relationship between Clov and Hamm. The attitude that Hamm gives off, one that is utterly devoid of hope, shows his belief in the pointlessness of life. Clov’s repetitive actions were markedly incessant throughout the production, which had a greater affect on the absurd theme than when read out loud. Overall, I think that plays better relate their themes when acted by actors because that’s the way the playwright intended it to be.

  66. Ari Hausman-Cohen

    1) Act Without Words, like Endgame, is a commentary on the futility of human existence. Both end up almost exactly the way they started, the events of the plays having no effects on them. Act Without Words makes human existence seem more pointless, because the actions are the entire play, whereas the dialogue in Endgame draws attention away from the fact that there is no point until the end, when the viewer realizes there really is no point, and even the dialogue was useless. Another part of futility emphasized in Act Without Words is the idea that things are always out of reach. Each time the man comes close to doing anything (getting the water or committing suicide), he is prevented from doing so. When thought about, this idea is also present in Endgame, where once it is time for Hamm’s painkillers, and when Nagg wants his pap and his sugar plum, none of the three are available. Another theme Act Without Words illuminates is man’s lack of motivation. The man interacts with the objects because they are there, similarly to how the characters in Endgame perform various routines day after day (or so they imply) for no particular reason.

    2) Watching the film version of Endgame gave me more of a feel for what it should be like than Benji and Mr. Sharp’s reading. Benji and Mr. Sharp made the dialogue humorous just by being themselves. The film version, however, shows the dialogue for its true self: inane and meaningless. The presence of a stage also changed things. Staging adds to the monotony, because while a paragraph of text explaining how Clov walks back and forth between the two windows is mildly funny, actually watching him do so for several minutes is frustrating, because the viewer can better see the utter pointlessness of the actions, as was Beckett’s intention. If Beckett had not wanted this reaction, he would have written Endgame as a book. However unpleasant sitting through the movie may be, seeing Endgame as a staged production is necessary to understand Beckett’s intentions.

  67. 1. "Act Without Words" shares themes with "Endgame", but instead of expounding upon them for pages and pages, it condenses them into a short pantomime. The desert mirrors the grey world Clov and Hamm inhabit, confining the man to a harsh existence. The man's futile, but also comic attempts to reach the glass of water make him seem pathetic and absurd, just like Clov and Hamm's pointless dialogue. The man fails to accomplish anything in "Act Without Words", even when he tries to kill himself. This is similar to Clov and Hamm's circular conversations, and the fact that "Endgame" ends with the set identical to the way in which it started. Both plays show the futility of the protagonists actions against a meaningless universe, but "Act Without Words" shows it in simpler, more abridged terms.

    2. Watching "Endgame" was less than fascinating and did not help explain the meaning to me more than reading the text did. Reading the play, the characters were more open to individual interpretation, but once the characters were acted out they seemed more static and dull. The play was more open when read than when it was acted out. Another problem with the play is that, because it lacks any sort of plot, there is nothing to keep the audience interested. Even though Beckett certainly had something important to say through "Endgame", most people would be asleep before they could begin to understand it. reading the play required more effort, and as a result, it was less boring (even if the text was the same), but seeing it acted out was just plain boring.

  68. 1. One theme in “Endgame” that I thought “Act Without Words” helped illuminate, was the repetition of everyday life. In “Endgame,” the characters are aware of this repetition—they discuss it and curse its existence but continue to do the same thing over and over because that is simply how it’s always been. This same idea manifests itself in “Act Without Words.” The man continues to respond to the whistle even as he knows he will end up where he started. This whistle is also a common element between “Act Without Words” and “Endgame.” Hamm blows the whistle to summon Clov, and Clov comes without fail, even though he dislikes it. For both the man in “Act Without Words” and Clov, it is impossible to resist the whistle. Another theme that “Act Without Words” helped to illuminate was unattainable ends. The man keeps reaching for the water but it is always just out of his reach. This is the same with the characters in “Endgame.” They view the earth and the sea beyond their windows, but can never quite get there. The man also has this thirst that he is unable to quench, just as Clov is unable to sit, and Hamm is unable to stand. “Act Without Words” makes these themes more evident by taking out dialogue and putting things in basic simple terms that people can easily understand. Viewers focus on the man’s actions, and the themes are much more blatant than in “Endgame.” People have to think harder, or at least deeper to find the symbolism and meaning in “Endgame” because it is in the dialogue as well as the set and actions.

    3. The YouTube clip is confusing, disorienting, and funny in an uncomfortable way just like “Endgame.” Viewers watch these performances and have no idea what’s going on. They laugh at the absurdity of how little their brains comprehend the material—it’s like that self-conscious laugh that people laugh when someone tells a joke that only they don’t understand. They know its funny—they just can’t figure out why. And just as they think they are beginning to grasp the theme of the piece, it changes directions entirely. Beckett makes “Endgame” simple in set design and diction, just as the Youtube video does, but manipulates the words so that their meaning isn’t truly comprehensible on any normal level. The men (or the two versions of the one man) continue to use the words “google” and “Microsoft” and “yahoo,” but the meanings of these words are not important in the effect of the dialogue. The viewers are forced to think outside the box of traditional speech and find the meaning not in the words themselves, but in the way they are used.

  69. 1. Act Without Words is a representation of the meaninglessness of life, just as Endgame is. The man in the desert is constantly attempting to find a way out, to make his life more enjoyable. He constantly attempts to do so, coming very close to attaining his goals, only to fail in the end. He is constantly taunted with things to make his life better, however when he goes for them they only disappear. And in the end he finally realizes that no matter how close he gets he will never get these impossible goals, and slowly the thing taunting him goes away. This is a theme of existentialism—when the man in the desert realizes his labor is pointless, he is free of the false hope of meaning and escape from the unhappiness in life. In the beginning he is stupid, but slowly he learns from his mistakes and at the end he leaves the absurdity.
    2. Seeing the endgame performance itself didn’t really help much with my understanding of the play—however I did think that seeing the costumes and the design of the stage itself helped. Seeing Beckett’s visual perspective of the meaningless and bleakness of existence, really gave a better me a better understanding of what Beckett was trying to convey in Endgame. And that would be the complete and total meaninglessness of life. The house in which Clov and Ham live is bleak, gray empty and dark. The characters, for the majority of the play talk in meaningless dialogue, the same as when reading the play, however when I saw the play itself I gained a better understanding of the Existentialist undertones. When Clov leaves the house and Ham, he comes out of the dark, he leaves the mud of existence and in to the light. He leaves the meaninglessness and creates and essence.
    Another theme I realized from seeing the play is the meaning behind Becket’s use of vaudevillian style comedy. The only thing keeping the play itself from being the most boring and unwatchable thing ever would be the sparse absurd comedic moments. And I think that that is what Beckett is trying to say, it’s the small absurdities that make life bearable.

  70. 1. In the play Act Without Words the character is constantly reaching for something that is unattainable. This is similar to Endgame as both themes are represented with meaninglessness. Act Without Words is a play without words in which the main character tries and tries to reach for a goal but he fails each time basically what he is doing is meaningless, much like what is going on in Endgame. In Endgame the relationship between Hamm and Clov is much like the Main character and the objects he is trying to obtain, both sets are doing absolutely nothing for the point of their own survival. Clov and Hamm are there to rely on each other and the Main Character relies on the objects for is amusement and survival.
    2. Much like Endgame this is a playful spin on classic life. The Youtube video is representing the playful and amusing side of life but on a serious topic, much like what is going on in Endgame. The Youtube video was without a doubt, confusing at first and then it became hilarious. Much like Endgame, in the beginning the audience has no earthly idea what is going on, but as it goes on it becomes so what amusing because the confusion doesn’t matter anymore. The utter confusion and hilarity are what make it so great, because you don’t need to know what anything is about in order to enjoy it, you know you like it and that is what matters.

  71. 1. "Act Without Words" in many ways reflected the themes found in "Endgame." Not only did the man portrayed in "Act Without Words" go through a series of seemingly meaningless activities, he seemed to be aware of their pointless nature. He was resigned to turn every time the whistle blew, even as Clov and Hamm go through the motions of life even though they are aware that they will just end up the way that they started.

    3. The YouTube clip seems to be as roundabout and pointless as "Endgame" and "Act Without Words." The watcher/reader feels a disconnect between the apparently randomness of the speech and the deeper meanings that they sense behind the words. In the clip, it is very apparent that "Steve is not happy," and the first time this is mentioned, it stops blue tie Rose in his tracks. Steve is obviously significant in some way to the two men, but this would not be apparent in the simple text of the clip. The key to grasping what is going on lies not in the literal meaning of the words, but in the reactions to them.

  72. Ana Vidina Hernandez-
    1.) Act without words illustrates endgame's theme of pointlessness and the idea that the end is in sight and all the steps to it are laid out before you. The man is trying to get the water and the audience can see the steps he must take, using the boxes, in order to reacch his goal. In the end the meaning that seemed to have existed is shown to be nonexistant when he does not take the water that goes directly in front of him. He also seems to be a character similar to Clov, who spends his existance following the orders of someone who tells him exactly what to do and keeps him inside his boundaries. He goes from one side to another and does not accomplish anything. He even acts like Clov when he continuously puts back the boxes where he has gotten them from. In this case the boxes appear to be the stool and other items throughout Endgame.
    3.) The youtube video clip was similar to endgame mostly in terms of style. Both contain no real plot and have repeated words and phrases that at times seem as if they are going somewhere, and in the end are utterly pointless. Even the questions that might appear to take the storyline in some direction never lead anywhere. The repetition of phrases and the disinterested way the men are talking remind me of the way that clov and hamm talk back and forth in Endgame. They are never actually getting anywhere and most of the time what seems meaningful turns out to be nothing of relevance to anything else in the play. The youtube clip is somewhat of a modern Endgame and could be taken to show that technology seems to have meaning but does not truly get us anywhere and there will always be new technology to replace the old. Technology cannot give itself 'essence' and therefore in the end it does not have any true meaning.

  73. 1. The man in Act Without Words lives the same meaningless life that condemns the characters from Endgame and essentially all of humanity. Through the play, his painstaking efforts to grasp the cup of water dangling from the sky all end in failure. Similarly in Endgame, Ham and Clov perpetually attempt to add meaning to their dialogue and conversations but their efforts are also abortive. Both plays portray the meaninglessness and absurdity of life, where humans are forever striving for one goal after another, ultimately achieving nothing for we all face the same ending.

    2. Watching the film was a drastically different experience than simply the play read aloud. For one, seeing the repetitive movements and actions of the characters played a major part in illustrating the theme of the play. In particularly, Clov’s annoyingly tedious actions, carrying the ladder back and forth between the two windows, gave the viewer a painfully clear idea of the meaninglessness of life. Additionally, seeing the characters professionally portrayed enabled me to better understand and empathize with the characters.

    Angela Liu

  74. 2. Quite frankly, watching a production of Endgame did not improve my understanding of the script. The purpose of Endgame was to emphasize the idea that people are able to entertain themselves through dialogue and interaction with other people. Reading about someone who does this is just a clear as watching one act upon this idea. There was very little action Endgame, making a performance unnecessary since everything was described thoroughly in the script. My idea of Endgame and of the events that took place did not alter, making me conclude that one is not suppose to both read and see Endgame performed. By doing this, one sees a duplicate of the absurdity he has already observed through the work.

    3. The YouTube clip, "Beckett Charlie Rose," reiterates Endgame's emphasis on the absurdity of human nature. It relates Endgame with today's society, where "Yahoo" and "Google" are common terms. As a member of the technical world, one does not realize the overall unimportance of these words. They are topics that most people can have a conversation about, but do not provide any everlasting effects on the human race. It represents the "small talk" that is portrayed throughout Endgame, helping people release their boredom by dialogue. However, the focuses on the insignificance of dialogue by repeating what has already been said and not making any progress in the conversation. This is also seen in Endgame, where the beginning of the day is the same as the end, and the trivial dialogue between did not provide any benefits or consequences to the story.

  75. 2. The film didn't help my appreciation of the work. If anything, it made me dislike it. The way it is read on stage and in my head are so different, that the acting was trying to put meaning into a relatively nonsensical conversation and sequence of events. The play itself was very condensed. Most of the action and environment was portrayed though the characters. I feel that the filming of this play, and the set and mood construction took away from this aspect of the play.

    3. Honestly, the only similarity of the You Tube clip and the play was the ridiculous conversations. The clip was generally on the same topic, as was Endgame, but neither made much sense in the way that conversations typically flow. Perhaps it was meaning to show the irrelevance of human nature? I'm not quite sure how the two correlated.

  76. 2. Endgame the movie was one of the most painfully boring movies I have ever had to sit through. It probably wouldn't have been as bad if I hadn't actually read the play already. The only thing endgame the movie gives us is a better idea of where they are and what where they live looks like. But this does not matter because the play is more about dialogue then setting. Little time is spent describing the the setting or how the charachters look which is true in most plays. So to me it was like hearing the same dialogue repeated to me word for word without anything extra. We go to see adaptations of our favorite books because we want to see how it might look in real life. However there's nothing vissually exciting about endgame. We could have just read the play again and it would have been the same.

    3. The clip was interesting in that it was similar to endgame because they way the people talked and how they talked about it was similar to endgame. Every sentence they said was short and to the point, or lack of point just like endgame. The conversation didn't seam to have any meaning because they didn't really get anywhere in their discussion and ended up back where they started in the beginning. Also it was just two people talking to each other which is pretty much what endgame is. The biggest thing they had common though is that they were both devoid of a point.

  77. 1) The Act Without Words helps illuminate the theme from Endgame of futility. for Clov and Hamm, there is no point to what they do, yet they perpetually do it. For the man in the Act Without Words, no matter how he tries to get his water, he ends up empty handed. The Perpetuallity comes into play when the man responds to the whistle, and runs off screen, only to me hurled back. The characters from both works should know from experience what to expect as an outcome for their actions, yet they still continue to do them. this is where the two works differ. Hamm and Clov are doing what they do for the "routine", where as the man
    is trying to get his water.

    3) The YouTube clip represent the spirit of style of Samuel Beckett's Endgame in that both have two men in a conversation which both know is going nowhere (an endgame if you will), yet still continue to have the conversation. In the YouTube clip, Carlie Rose is absolutely clueless on the issue at hand, and has when he offers a subject relevant to the show's topic, it is shut down. This is much like Clov in his playing along with Hamm. Additionally, the use of the same clip looped several times in the YouTube video such as "google" emulate Hamm when he says a statement, then repeats it to get a response out of Clov. Lastly, the spirit of Endgame is present in that whenever one man tries to bring something new in to the conversation, like a new question, they are interrupted and the idea is shut out, staying on the one way aspect of the meaningless conversation.

  78. 2. Watching Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame” did little more for me than listening to Sharp and Benji reading their lines like callused lovers during class. The on screen version of the play illuminated a few things I had missed in the reading, such as the truth about the ill-balanced dog, and the elders in the trash bins, however all of these were things that after reading the play twice-over I would have picked up on. The main difference between reading the play and watching it was the way the audience noticed Becket’s repetition. Screen watchers were assaulted in two senses with the absurdity of Clov and Hamm, their day to day routine in dialogue and action was clear not through stage commands, but through movement and practiced voice intonation.
    3. Youtube’s “Charlie Rose” clip was similar to endgame in structure and relevance in dialogue. Multiple times a question or topic would be posed, and would be dropped, cut short, or ignored and replaced by repetitive banter. Charlie Rose and guest speak in circles, their conversation returns to “Google” or “Yahoo” in the same fashion as Hamm and Clov speak about pain killers and the looking glass. There is no doubt that both clip and movie are similar in that the first time around, neither are funny or at all entertaining, but with further viewings, the increased repetition drives them both to hilarity.

  79. 2. I was extremely excited to see the film of "Endgame". The in-class reading of the play had proved it to be hilarious in its absurdity. I hadn't felt like I had "understood it", per se, but I had found it curious and enjoyable. Unfortunately, seeing the film was not the least bit enlightening. While the first ten minutes or so were interesting for the sake of seeing the characters and set visualized, it quickly became the most boring thing I had ever seen. I had hoped Clov's "bit" with the ladder would have a sort of Buster Keaton-esque hilarity, but David Thewlis' completely straight performance didn't even spark a smile. The "surveying the audience" exchange lost its humor. It was mind-numbing. Maybe that's the "point", but I suspect it had more to do and the medium than with the heart of the play. (I hesitate to fault the production, as I enjoy the actors as a general rule, though I think the production did not help itself.) I think "Endgame" just fails to make a good film. It was written for the stage, and it is simply too static for the silver screen. Thus, I did not get much out of watching the film, though it did give me a feel for what a staging might look like.
    3. "'Charlie Rose' by Samuel Beckett" is bizarre, funny, and hopeless, and those are the elements that define "Endgame". There is the obvious ridiculous set-up of a man interviewing himself, not to mention the overwhelming repetition of phrases without context. Who the hell is Steve? Whoever he is, he is not happy, and that unhappiness resonates in the two Charlies' unhappiness and the general unhappiness seen in Beckett's play. Also, it is very funny in its own nonsensical way, and that is the hallmark of Endgame.
    -Rosalind Faires

  80. 1) Both "Act Without Words" and "Endgame" convey the message that life itself has no meaning, and we determine our purpose. In "Endgame", Clov has nothing better to do than bicker with Hamm and obey his orders, and Hamm has nothing better to do than boss Clov around. The entire play is pointless, and the characters do not accomplish anything or change whatsoever. In "Act Without Words", a poor man tries desperately to get a glass of water, but all of his plans fail. He eventually realizes that his attempts are no good, and even when the water is dangled right in front of his face, he does not try to reach it, because he knows something will take it away once again. Both works convey a big part of existentialism- knowing one's fate, and doing nothing to change it.

    3) My immediate response to this clip was "huh?" But as it played on, I realized it was Endgame, but in a news room. The "conversation" these 2 men have is absolutely pointless-no meaning whatsoever, and doesn't even make sense. "Microsoft, google, Steve's not happy..." say what? And, just like in Endgame, nothing is accomplished in the end. The conversation was completely pointless.

  81. from brigeda, btw

  82. 1. Act Without Words reiterated the themes of Endgame, but in a simpler and more clear-cut, obvious fashion. The man in Act Without Words was stuck in the desert with no way out--any time he attempted to leave his patch of sand, he was forced back by an unseen force. That same sense of confinement is echoed in Endgame (although not quite as physically) when Clov continually mentions leaving, while never actually following through. The mime tries desperately to reach the water, furiously stacking boxes and leaping to grab hold of that elusive drink, but each time it is pulled out of reach. Even when he decides to kill himself, the tree lowers its branch and eliminates that option. Similarly, Clov and Hamm use their ridiculous, meticulous rituals to try and create some sort of order and meaning in their lives. But they, too, fail because these routines cannot create purpose in a disorderly universe.

    2. Although watching Endgame performed just a few days after reading the play was somewhat repetitive, I felt as though I gained a better understanding of the play by watching the filmed production. It flowed better for me when I could watch it being performed, since there were no (Pause) directions in the middle of the dialogue, and there weren’t long blocks of stage direction to skip over as you read. Some things were clearer when being performed, like Hamm’s blindness, his stuffed dog, and the whole scene with the alarm clock. Watching actual people perform also gave me more of a connection with the play, since without faces to connect with characters, Endgame is basically a string of meaningless dialogue. For example, I could actually see the hopelessness and reminiscence on Nagg and Nell’s faces when they talked about the past, and that made the scene much more powerful.

  83. This comment has been removed by the author.

  84. 1. Act Without Words, illuminates many themes in Endgame. The character in act without words is stuck in a cycle where he can not get the one thing he truly wants, water. He ignores reason and continues to pursue his goal. This is a theme that I also saw in Endgame. In Endgame the characters are stuck in a cycle where nothing new happens. The point of this cycle is to represent the way human lives rarely break out of a monotonous cycle.

    3. It becomes clear within moments of this clip what a bizzar style Beckett uses in his writing. The clip begins with an odd situation where Charlie Rose is interviewing Charlie Rose. Such an odd situation is common in Becketts writing. For instance, Act Without Words is set in a desert like place where the things a man disires simply appear. And in Endgame, where two men bicker about life, while the parents of one man sit in trashcans. This clip shows that Beckett uses as style of writing that tests the imagination of the audience. While he is presenting changeling ideas such as a play with out a plot, the audience also has to cope with the out of ordinary context. Becketts style, no matter what play it is used in, has the intent of forcing the audience to look at something in an unusual manner.

    -Eliza Trono

  85. 1. "An Act Without Words" shares many similarities with "Endgame", but rather for elaborating on it through a lengthy play riddled with chess metaphors, chooses to condense its ideas to a short sketch. Both deal with the absurdity and utter futility of human life. They repeat meaningless incessantly, regardless of their usefulness. The theme in "An Act Without Words" is more straightforward, as a man is shown who fails at everything he attempts, including killing himself.

    2. Watching "Endgame" was both redundant and boring. While reading about Clov performing a clown act is somewhat humorous, actually seeing it was dull and repetitive. As there was no plot and only the barest of sets, the clip added nothing to the reading of the play. If anything, the play allowed more focus on the words and dialogue, which, as even Hamm points out, is the only thing keeping them and us there.

    //max timkovich

  86. Dearest Mr. Sharp,

    2. The film version of Endgame helped me understand the absurdity of their conversation. It also clarified the endgame concept in the context of the play for me. I was not sure where the characters were (particularly the idea that it seemed Hamm's parents lived in bins), or what exactly was going on. Seeing the film made me realize that practically nothing was going on and that the character's conversation was unimportant babble. The movie is much easier to view (as is usually the case when compared with reading), and seeing the characters in an empty attic and trashcans. Their conversation was easier to follow (despite the numerous non-sequiturs) and I felt like I grabbed the absurdist style better after viewing the film.

    3. The clip agrees with the style of Endgame, as well as existentialist ideas and the theme of The Stranger. The idea that life is completely beyond human rationality is most apparent in this clip. Charlie Rose's conversation with himself is much like the conversation between Clov and Hamm in Endgame, filled with seemingly meaningless babble and thoughts and statements that have no relation to the previous stream of conversation. The environment is also similar to that of Endgame. In the play, the characters reside in a bare, dark, room. In this clip Charlie rose sits with someone (who seems to be himself) at a table surrounded by blackness.

  87. 1. "Act Without Words" and "Endgame" are similar because of their pointlessness. Both are absurd, and neither allow for much progress. The character's actions follow a repetitiveness that traps them. The man in "Act Without Words" keeps struggling for the water glass, and Clov keeps going to his kitchen, but is always called back on stage. In both, characters follow circles, at times changing their position on stage, but never really leaving it. The character's actions, in the end, make no impact on the universe around them.

    3. When I watched the Charlie Rose clip, I laughed. And then I cried. And then I realized that this was supposed to relate to Beckett's "spirit of style". The Charlie Rose clip made no sense in a crazy good way. It was full of absurdity and humor, just like "Endgame". It had the same repetitive dialogue (at times painfully repetitive) and circular pattern that always led back to Charlie's wrinkly face. Charlie Rose followed the same nonsensical style as "Endgame" with the same dose of ridiculous fun.

    -Emily Wright

  88. 1. Act Without Words served as a very helpful prequel to Endgame. It illustrated the styles of Beckett in a 15-20 minute nutshell. The act covered the motifs of routine to eternity to death and dying. All of these items are seen again and again in Endgame. For example, Clov and Hamm bicker about Hamm's daily painkiller constantly, Clov always looks out of the window, and Nagg constantly comes out of his trash can to ask for food. Hamm also asks Clov to kill him a number of times, just as the character in Act Without Words tries to kill himself. As for eternity, the anonymous character seems to constantly complete a loop of finding help but losing it moments later. The eternal feeling caused by Clov constantly saying that he will leave, but always returning is apparent in Endgame.
    2. As a play, Endgame was split up into two halves since we read it on two different days, so it was split in that manner while I viewed the film. After watching the film, I actually lost a little bit of liking for the play. I think that it should stay in a theatrical format as the way it is filmed seems too gloomy and over dramatic. While reading the play, I enjoyed the constant confusion that went about the 4 characters. The characters may have not been confused, but as a reader and listener, I felt very out of place. The film also seemed to make the play come across as a bit more boring and bland. I felt as though I was looking at the characters through an out-of-focus lens, as I did not fully grasp the play. For a while, I was actually quite bored.

  89. 2. It was not solely viewing the cinematic rendition of Endgame that enhanced my understanding of the play, but the two as separate works as stand-alone pieces of art work with each other in broadening the meaning Samuel Beckett was trying to convey. I doubt without having read the play beforehand that I would have understood much of what was going on in the movie and vice-versa. However, viewing the filmed production aided in the visualization of the setup of the play (or lack thereof) and helped in viewing the interaction between the characters. It was easy to get lost from time to time while reading the play due to its repetitiveness and listlessness but while watching the video you can stay alert and easily follow dialogue. I was able to picture a more barren setup and the devilishness character of Hamm.

    3. The Charlie Rose by Samuel Beckett video seems to emulate the wild and almost incomprehensible conversations between Hamm and Clov in Endgame. They interject rudely interject and insult each other yet still persist in their conversation. Their awkward pauses and like that of the blank moments between the conversations in Endgame, where afterwards a new topic in the conversation arises. When Rose states “Steve is not happy about this,” he seems to be citing some entity outside of the interview, perhaps and audience member or diector. This mimics the moments in Endgame where Hamm inquires, “Is it finished yet?” where he is talking directly to the audience. The whole conversation mirrors that of Hamm and Clov’s in Endgame.

  90. 1. "Act Without Words" contained many of the same themes as Beckett's "Endgame". "Endgame" touches on the idea of life being pointless but necessary. Hamm of "Endgame" asks Clov to help him kill himself, to end the pointless monotony of life. However, both Hamm and Clov understand that you can't just quit life even if you think it has no meaning - much like the idea embedded in the title, that even when two chess players reach an endgame, a point in which both players can see who will win, they have to finish the game in order to reach an ending. In "Act Without Words" the man is given a rope and a palm tree, and, when fed up with his seemingly meaningless life, tries to hang himself. However, the tree magically becomes too tall for the man to reach, making it impossible for him to commit suicide. Much like Hamm and Clov, this man is forced to continue with his pointless life, even though it would be much easier for him to end it all.

    2. Watching "Endgame" didn't have the same effect on me as reading the play. Much of this had to do with the fact that I played a part when we read "Endgame" in class, so I was very involved in understanding every line of the play. However, when watching "Endgame" performed on screen, it was much more difficult to understand because I got lost in the fact that nothing was going on. When reading the play, I was able to be immersed in Samuel Beckett's writing. Still, being able to see the set in the filmed version was helpful, because I could actually see that the stage was set up like a skull, making it much more evident that the four characters were in fact four different components of a single person's mind.

  91. Yo,

    1. watching act without words was like watching a mouse try and escape from a glass cage. it kept running into the walls. Although it is obvious he is not going to escape, he kept trying. In the end he finally realizes that no matter what he tries to do, nothing matters because he can't win in the end anyway, so he just gives up. It's kind of the same way in endgame. No matter how many times he tries to leave, Clov keeps getting called back, and he can't just leave. Until the end. I think.

    2. To be honest, I didn't understand the play or the movie. Both were just too meaningless to make any sense at all. WHY would there be two guys talking in a room? The fact that they kept their parents in garbage cans made no sense either. There were so many parts of the play/movie that just made me contort my face in frustration trying to understand why they didn't do something. The only clarification i got from the movie was that it is indeed just as pointless and weird as the book was.
    I did enjoy the film more because it was over much more quickly, and instead of having to read about him pacing back and forth (exciting!) I got to watch the action as it unfolded. I just felt as though the situation was so absurd that it could never happen, which just added to the pointlessness of the whole thing.

  92. 1. In Samuel Beckett’s two plays, Act Without Words and Endgame, the main theme is futility. By first watching Act Without Words the audience can gain valuable insight into Endgame. This is why when Act Without Words was first preformed it was followed by Endgame. The main character in Act Without Words spends the entirety of the play in a desert setting where he is constantly taunted by things that can help him. He is a constant state of disappointment and this is where the audience can see his frustration in the futility of his situation. One can understand Endgame’s two main character’s feelings of despair towards their futile surroundings much in the same way the audience can see the futility in the desert of Act Without Words.

    2. When we read Endgame aloud I had a set of characters and a setting pictured in my mind. This one perspective had somewhat limited my understanding of Endgame. By viewing the filmed production of Endgame I was able to more accurately understand the dynamic between Hamm and Clov. The exchange between these two is the core of the play. When this exchange differs it changes the entire feeling of the play. This is why seeing the new perspective on the work (the filmed version) was important and illuminating.

  93. 1. While watching Act Without Words, I noticed the parallel themes which it shared with Endgame. Both had no real plot. Sure Act Without Words, the character had a desire, however he started out with nothing, simply being dropped from the sky, and as i remember he ends up laying in the desert, with nothing- no trees, no boxes, no water. In Endgame, everything Clov gets Hamm never stays. They both are absurd and have no point to them, except to be absurd.
    2. Viewing the filmed production of Endgame did not exactly change my view of the play, however it pressed the existentialist idea and illustrated it within another storyline. It allowed me to compare and contrast all the different existentialist readings and from this I have weeded out and understand the deeper meaning of existentialist writing. I have a better knowledge of what makes something existentialist and whats the point of existentialism (...nothing has a point).


  94. 2. Samuel Beckett’s play, in written form, is appropriately represented by the performed version we viewed in class. This is not surprising, though, as it is not difficult to replicate a play that focuses completely on dialogue, involving little variation in setting or events. The play’s focus on dialogue is ultimately the most direct path towards achieving the play’s central theme, which seems to be a commentary on the utter pointlessness of life and death. Since the written and performed versions of the play are both so rich in this purposefully pointless dialogue, I found little difference in experience. While reading the play was more engaging, the two forms of the play equally enforce their main idea.

    3. Just as with Endgame, the two main characters in the Charlie Rose Youtube clip discuss pointless topics. With Endgame, the old man asks his son to move his chair into the right position so that he can tell his son a story. With the Youtube video, Charlie Rose discusses technology. Both are pointless events, and neither character in either situation really needs to be talking. Whether the old man’s chair is in the right place, whether Google is in a strong place economically—it really doesn’t matter. After all, the old man shall soon die, as shall Charlie Rose. Thus, the same concepts repeated throughout the dialogue in Endgame are echoed in the lack of steady dialogue in the Youtube clip.

    --Alec Herskowitz

  95. 1) I saw Act Without Words as the prologue to Endgame, telling the story of Hamm. In Endgame the main character starts out with an understanding of the true nature of reality, and goes through the play explaining it, demonstrating it, and deriving the implications of it. In Act Without Words however, the main character is still going through the process of discovering this true reality by a process of trial and error. The mime of Act Without Words tries again and again to relieve his thirst for water and stacks failure upon failure until by the end of the play he realizes the pointlessness and meaninglessness of his efforts and gives up. This state, of having realized truth and given up, is where we find Hamm at the start of Endgame. Surrender, is the theme from Endgame that I would consider to be illuminated by Act Without Words. Using Act Without Words as the back-story behind Endgame, Beckett prefaces Hamm's ultimate surrender to death with the mime's surrender to the true meaninglessness of existence.

    2) I think seeing the film of Endgame negatively impacted my understanding of the play by tying the story to specific actors, costumes, and cinematography. Before seeing the film I enjoyed being able to picture the actors as anonymous, which helped me in applying the ideas to modern reality and understanding them as applicable to any and all situations. After seeing the film it became harder not to link my perceptions back to that one specific performance, and the imagery made it more difficult for me to relate the play to my own life and the lives of the people that surround me. Also, while I pictured the play, the room, and the props mostly in white, indifferent and simple, the film’s version was dark, dank, and in all honesty, pretty boring in comparison. I would much rather have tried to improve my understanding of the play by a closer reading of the text itself than watching the film version.

  96. 1. How does Act Without Words help illuminate any themes from Endgame?
    Many of the events in Act Without Words are similar to the thematic elements of Endgame. In particular, the theme of mindless repetition is enforced. In a manner much like Clov's walks in between the two windows in Endgame, the main character of Act Without Words repeats such actions as placing boxes on top of each other, then undoes and redoes them for no apparent reason. His placing of a larger box on top of a smaller one mirrors the uselessness of Clov, walking to a window to peer out of it, but forgetting the ladder he needs to do so. In both plays, Beckett emphasizes the pointless and repetitive actions that characterize human life. This repetition is a tool which Beckett uses to point toward a larger theme, that of the ultimate meaningless of life, and the absurdity of one's attempts to find it.

    2. How did viewing the filmed production of Endgame affect your understanding of the play?
    Several elements of the play that were not obvious to me while reading it became clear when I saw the movie. Though this may be due in part to the actors' specific interpretations of the characters, I saw how Clov's limp was emphasized, even exaggerated, so that it became a true complaint of his. I had previously imagined Clov to be making mountains of molehills when he complained that he couldn't sit down. Furthermore, Hamm's own disability was more evident in the movie, as one could see him peering around and squinting due to his bad sight. Both of these characteristics, though mentioned repeatedly in the text, were made more evident in the film version. Other additions to the film appeared in the editing choices: in the final scene, the camera lingers on Clov's pained or even anguished face for emphasis, giving the finale a more emotional impact than it would have by simply being read out loud.

  97. 1. The most important themes of Endgame are those of futility, repetition, and absurdity (obviously these are just some of the themes). All of these are thoroughly emulated in Act Without Words. For roughly the first 6 minutes the actor tries many methods to get the water (this also falls under repetition) but despite all of his efforts he never gets the water. He finally gives up and the one thing that's been giving his life meaning (his "routine") is gone, making everything more futile than before. This plays into the repetition, his multiple attempts for the water which are always foiled. The water which is attached to a string being moved by an unknown force is in itself an absurd premise, add the constantly changing props and the futility, you have a very absurd 10 minutes

    2. For me watching the movie version of Endgame did very little to enlighten me. The written play's stage directions are very specific and I had an easy time picturing it in my head. Watching the movie was just repetitive (which, now that I think about it, may have been the point). I found reading the play out loud more enjoyable than the movie, and think that watching the movie was superfluous. Despite this watching the movie did help me evaluate some of the more ambiguous lines a little more closely because the actors used different inflections than the people in class.

  98. 1. 1. While Endgame does illustrate the absurdity of the world, Act Without Words is shorter, meaning the point is made more quickly and easily. Also, by truly seeing a man wander around performing abstract, pointless acts, one can get a better sense of the absurdity that the dialogue in Endgame tries to portray. However, because Act Without Words is more abstract, the link between the real world and the play is less easily made. It is hard to understand why the palm tree, boxes, and glass of water tantalize the main character. However, the end of Endgame is somewhat ambiguous: What happens now? Act Without Words makes it clear. Existence is not worthwhile and therefore, the absurd repetition of our life is literally pointless and not worth going through.
    2. 2. Though I had read how Clov wanders back and forth forgetting his ladders, opening and closing mirrors, answering Hamm’s every whim, it seemed much more natural, less absurd, when reading it on paper. Just reading the play gave me less time to actually absorb what it meant, what it looked like onstage, to imagine each action. Seeing the play made the absurdity more concrete. However, it was rather repetitive to read Endgame, watch Act Without Words, and then Endgame. Twice was more than enough. Ultimately, I do not think it helped my understanding of Endgame in any significant way.

    -Clara Yoon

  99. 1. In both Endgame and Act Without Words, the characters struggle to reach a goal, but eventually remain stuck in the same situation. The man in Act Without Words attempts to escape the world he was thrown into, and in Endgame Hamm and Clov speak of their ambition and desire to travel and explore, yet wake up to repeat the same routine day after day. In both plays, the actions of the characters ultimately have no lasting affect or meaning to the world, and are thus absurd. I think their actions and struggles are still meaningful in that they matter to the characters, but whether or not Beckett would agree with me I do not know.

    3. The Charlie Rose clip represents Beckett's spirit of style in that it has no direction, and the dialogue consists of random fragments of conversation that seem to contribute nothing to the meaning, though I suppose the point is to be meaningless. Though the play goes nowhere in any particular direction, it does go on, just as life does. What intrigues me about the "theatre of the absurd" is the playwright's choice of dialogue, because if the whole point is to be meaningless, why choose one sentence over any other? I think that the writers tend to include random character references (such as Steve), because even though we as the audience do not know the person, we have a tendency to care more about people than objects, and this may be to point out man's struggle to make sense and find meaning in the world, as we struggle to find meaning in the play.


    2. Viewing the film did nothing for me. It wasn't that it was boring, but there aren't underlying messages or themes to Endgame-it honestly is just about nothing. This point was emphasized by 80 minutes of dialogue and some pointless movement, but it being about nothing wasn't a point that I didn't understand before watching the movie. Having a visual of the scene added to the effect of the play, but that was where gaining anything from the movie ended. I enjoyed the play a lot more than the movie, even if it is just because the idea of nothing was new.

    3. This clip is similar to Endgame in that there is literally nothing besides the dialogue, and it does not mean anything. There is no point reached by the end of either story. It is hard to call either of them a story for this reason. No conclusion is reached, not that there was anything meaningful to be concluded in the first place, and nothing goes anywhere. Just as Clov and Hamm will repeat their own cycle driven by conversation until the day they die, the two men in Charlie Rose go in endless circles and gain nothing.

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    1. One notable parallel theme in Endgame and Act Without Words was isolation. Both settings laid the characters in absurd situations, but the important difference was the characters’ control of the absurdity and isolation. The character in Act Without Words was struggling for survival and to escape his isolation, whereas Hamm, the dominant character in Endgame, feared the continuation of humanity. Although the four characters in Endgame are together, there appears to be no one else left on the earth. They are isolated by choice by not leaving the house. Hamm fears the animals and insects presented during the play because he fears that humanity will rise again from them. He rejoices in his their isolation.

    3. The most noticeable similar stylistic characteristic in ‘Charlie Rose’ to Endgame is the short, combative dialogue between characters. Both dialogues at time become angry or frustrated. This frustration is based in the idea that the only companions the characters have in isolation are constant and infuriating. Hamm and Clov are a unit because they cannot live without each other (“Why do you keep me?” “Why do you stay?” “There’s no where else.” “There’s no one else.”) Because they create this unit, their conversations look inside this unit, much like Charlie Rose’s interview with himself reveals inner thoughts or dilemmas.

  103. 1) Like Endgame, the short film Act Without Words comments upon the absurdity of our existence and depicts one man's recognition of his impossible condition. The man begins by attempting to use whatever tools he is given to reach his ultimate goal, the glass of water. However, the man soon recognizes that no matter what innovations he makes, the water will remain out of reach. By the end of the play, everything has been taken from him, and he is left exactly as he began. This motif is also seen in Endgame: while Clov moves about the room (as does Hamm, on occasion), neither character ultimately goes anywhere. Both the characters of Endgame and the mime of Act Without Words recognize the pointlessness of their roles. However, the two plays end slightly differently: Hamm and Clov follow the play to its conclusion because they are bound by the dialogue, while the mime finally ceases to play the “game” because he seems to know how it will end. It is unclear which path Beckett is advocating, as there is little hope or emotional release in either play.

    2) While I was, admittedly, bored out of my mind during the screening of Endgame, the film did help my understanding of the play in that it emphasized exactly how little was present aside from the dialogue. As we read the script as a class, I was able to deduce the major themes of the work as they pertained to existentialism, e.g. the absurdity of human existence (and recognition thereof) and our inability to cease living although our life has no meaning. However, during such a reading, the listener is free to interpret the dialogue and imagine the characters' motions and expressions as he chooses. The film, on the other hand, turns a subjective story into a concrete reality. Thus, the film was able to more poignantly address the characters' isolation and monotonous surroundings, through lighting, color, and other visual devices. However, the film still focused so firmly on the dialogue that all other aspects were, strictly speaking, unnecessary. I must therefore conclude that, while film is a practical medium in this instance, the meaning of the play is just as easily gleaned in a class reading—each is effective, but using both, especially in so short a time period, is superfluous.

  104. Question 2:
    Seeing the filmed version of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame did not affect my understanding of the play. I believe that I had a better understanding of the play when we read the selection in class, where as the film was simply putting pictures to Beckett’s words. These pictures did not exactly match the images that rolled through my mind while reading the play, but were rather appropriate and matched the play quite well none the less. I believe that my understanding of the play was better when we read the play in class, with an interesting cast of classmates that I could relate to and while the play was still new to me. The movie made the play seem as if it dragged on and on, and I was prone to other distractions, having already read the play. The movie did, however, affect my opinion of the play, where reading it was more personal and interesting, watching the movie made the play seem rather boring and mundane.

    Question 3:
    The YouTube clip and Samuel Beckett’s Endgame have many similarities. The most striking similarity is the repetitive nature of the dialogue. In both selections, the same topics are mention multiple times, and the characters dwell on the same topics or tangents of those topics throughout both of the plays. The subject of the dialogue is even similar between plays, because both are speaking about a change in their society, where in Endgame it is the disappearance of humanity and in the clip it is of the culture’s conversion to the internet. The whole tone of the clip is even the same as the tone of Endgame, being that the characters only exist for the sake of conversation, staying unmoving in a single room with nothing else to do but talk to one another. The only difference that I find interesting between the clip and Endgame is that in the clip the characters are taken to be the same person. This is a curious detail because if you look at the similarities in the two main character of Endgame, they may as well be cast as the same person as well.

  105. 2. After watching the film virsion of "Endgame" my view of the play has not changed. Both virsions attempt to show the absurdity and meaninglessness of life. In the play this is done through using long pauses and senseless dialogue, and in the film it is done using stratigic edits, which creates the same affect as the pauses, and a bleak empty set. Having never seen the actual play, I can only assume that it is smiliar to the film. With that being said, I can also say that the film does not change the meaning of the play but amplifies it.

    3. One can take many meanings and fit them all into Beckett's "charlie rose" youtube clip. However, I believe the clip is meant to have one meaning, and that is that life has no meaning. The dialogue in the clip is nonsensical and the character is talking to himself. This rambling, rediculous style is the exact same in the play "Endgame." Also, in the play, one can argue that all the characters are different manifestations of the same person, and in the youtube clip there are two of the same persons. Those being there, again, to symbolize the absurdity of life.

  106. Cailynn Ponciroli
    1. In Act Without Words, The main character repeatedly demonstrates his forgetfulness as he tries and tries to get the water that hangs above him. After each attempt, a new item is given to him and he must repeat all his attempts to get the water with one more attempt including the new item at the end. This shows that no matter how determined he is or what he is given to finally achieve his goals, the end result will always be the same. This same idea is shown in Endgame when Hamm tells Clov to look out the windows and each time, after rearranging the ladder, he sees nothing. This empty achievement is somewhat akin to the idea that no matter what a life is made of, it will always result in the same ending. The finality of both Act Without Words and Endgame shows that though the characters lived their lives and filled their days with a repetitive and ultimately non-essential action, they have nothing in the end and it does not change the outcome of their lives. Therefore, the authors want the viewers to draw the conclusion that their lives served no significant purpose and not even their ending will demonstrate a lesson or reasoning behind it.

    2. I believe viewing the filmed production of Endgame hindered my understanding of the play. When we read the play in class, the characters I imagined fit to their own description and their actions, as I thought they would look, helped demonstrate the play’s themes. This allowed me to focus more on what was being said and done, not how it was being done. When I viewed the play, the characters did not look or talk as I had imagined them, and I spent more time focusing on the dirty room they were in and how exactly they looked or seemed out of character. Instead of listening to Hamm as he tells his stories, I was looking at his strange goggles and his fidgeting hands. I think taking the play from writing and putting it into a viewed production takes away from the overall idea and constructs the play to one person’s interpretation of how the play should look and make people feel, not leaving as much room for personal interpretation. The movie made the characters and their meaning seem to lead up to some cheesy ending and I kept expecting to hear music in the background. When reading the play on the other hand, the scenes were easily pictured as they were written and the ending was more satisfactory and understood as it lead to the overall point of the play by showing their actions as insignificant without any added expectations you would associate with a film.

  107. The movie version of "Endgame" gave me a second chance to understand the play. I didn't have any profound moments where I understood something in a new perspective, but i enjoyed watching the play in the way that Beckett intended it to be performed. After watching the movie, i realized the extent of the desolation and isolation that the characters were placed in. This was illustrated by costumes and makeup, but considering that the set never changed I didn't feel like it was necessary to watch the whole movie again.

    The Act Without Words mirrored some of Beckett's ideas in the Endgame because it showed a life of complete hopelessness in an almost comical way. In the mimed play the actions of the man were futile. He was destined to die, just as everyone is, but he was given little teases that showed that he just might be able to escape. Of course he get could not get anything he needed in the sand pit, just like the lone inhabitants of the pathetic world in the Endgame. Both plays present the idea of hopeless isolation blatantly, which makes the audience realize that their own lives might not have any meaning either, underneath their ideals of a perfect life.

  108. 2. Actually watching the film version of "Endgame" by Beckett gave me a different perspective on the play for several reasons. Firstly, reading along, with people next to you as members of the play made the story more real, but it still left many things undefined and unexplored. Watching the actual play finally gave faces to the names, and a better interpreted sense of setting. In addition, I've always enjoyed films over books, and learn visually, so repetition and certain focuses were more emphasized in actually watching. The only problem with watching a film over reading the story is that so much is suddenly written, and less is given for interpretation, but fortunately, the entire story is a metaphor in and of itself so neither the film nor play are quite literal.

    3. The youtube video was an interesting portrayal of Beckett's persona, and style. The editor chopped bits of interviews done by Charlie Rose to effectively represent the philosophy of absurdism in "Endgame" and even "The Stranger." Rose effectively said nothing, and got nowhere, talking to himself, just as the two main characters of "Endgame" concluded nothing except for their existence and its sole purpose was to continue until it would end. This sense of purposelessness is enveloped by absurdism, which goes on to say that man's necessity for purpose in a meaningless life is what creates the absurd. The abrupt style and pointless dialogue emphasized Beckett's ideals, while also paying tribute, in a well edited and clever youtube video.


  109. Lydia Truitt -
    2. Part of the appeal I found within reading “Endgame” aloud, was being able to imagine the stage directions. Picturing the characters and their motions on my own added to the level of absurdity I found in the play. The film version stripped my imagination of its images and replaced them with the visual interpretations of a stranger. Sure, the direction and editing were well suited to that particular portrayal, but I regret watching simply because I understood the play before the movie and I miss the original mental imagery. Seeing the play acted out by professionals was an unnecessary, and admittedly dull, step to wrapping my mind around “Endgame”.

    3. The YouTube clip and “Endgame” both exhibit elements of the absurd. By repeating lines (i.e. “Google” and “we’re getting on”) the works begin to leave the realm of the logical. Both enter a ridiculous void containing nothing more than a plethora of absurdity resulting from half-crazed men with a plethora of time and access to the public (be it through YouTube or publishing). The fact that the character within the video is apparently talking to himself is reflected in “Endgame’s self-awareness, when Hamm and Clov talk to the audience about the play itself. The general lack of plot, a fact only realized upon the completion of both works, is shared and adds to the general sense of absurdity.

  110. 1.“Act Without Words” helps to emphasize the theme of absurdity present in Endgame, but in a much shorter amount of time. In “Act Without Words” the man’s continuous, unsuccessful effort to reach the water represents the pointlessness of human actions. His attempts to kill himself show that he is aware of his absurd cycle of existence, and his failure at such an attempt demonstrates his confinement in this universe. This parallels the imprisonment of the characters in Endgame. Nagg and Nell are stuck inside garbage cans, Clov is trapped in endless service to Hamm, and they are all confined by the “dialogue” and the overall pointlessness of their day to day conversations. A sense of change is prevalent at the end of both works. In “Act Without Words”, the man gives up trying to reach for the water even when it is within his grasp, and, eventually, he fails to answer to the sound of the whistle. This allows him to briefly escape his monotonous cycle of existence. The change displayed in Endgame is Clov’s attempt to escape from his unfulfilling service to Hamm. By setting the alarm clock and committing to his departure, Clov prepares to leave Hamm in hopes of creating an essence or purpose in life.

    2.Watching the film version of the play Endgame did not greatly affect my understanding of the play. Though the movie provided better visual representation of the play, this did not help my interpretation of the themes Beckett is presenting. One characteristic of Endgame as a play is its simplicity. The single set of the play consist of about five props, and the most elaborate action scene is when Clov is pushing Hamm around the room in his chair. Also, the majority of the play is dialogue. This play does not require visual representation. Its simplicity and bluntness further emphasizes its themes of absurdity and the pointlessness of daily life.

  111. 2. I am afraid that I find my understanding of either version of the play to be absent. When read, it was my understanding that there were these characters too lonely and too incapable of doing anything to better their circumstances and filling their remaining time alive to exchange in painfully dry conversation and stories heard a million times. Watching it on film only confused me more about what the play is supposed to be about or represent. Being able to watch the characters interact was interesting because it allows for a different take on what is happening and being said because you can see their emotions and reactions. Sure you can see reactions between people when reading it aloud, but it is different watching a limping, pale, tired looking man delivering the same lines that has the greater impact. After watching Endgame, it puzzled me as to why the connection between the characters is so strong yet so broken at the same time. I just keep wondering how all of this started and how each character came to be in their physically diminished states and trapped in this dreary setting where nothing seems to matter. Is there a pre-game to Endgame?

    1. The cinematic style of the clip and Endgame are both simple to the point of mind numbing absurdity. The clip embraces the random and confusing style of Endgame’s characters and chain of events that keeps one asking why over and over. In both plays, there is no central point or plot. In such simplicity, there is a lot of philosophical underlining that you have to search for and really think about when watching these plays in order to catch what each is trying to say. At first glance, I think the style is supposed to make one question the relevance and intellectuality of the play but once one sees how both unfold and relate, the purpose of each becomes clearer.

  112. 1. How does Act Without Words help illuminate any themes from Endgame?
    The Act Without Words more clearly communicated the complete meaninglessness that Endgame strove to engender. While the Act Without Words was, indeed, different from Endgame, there were similar situations that drove the characters on with similar motives and means. Both sets featured a wasteland. Both plays question the existence or intents of God. The Act Without Words shows, literally, how things are given and taken without regard to actions taken in order to create consistency. Endgame, however, through "the dialogue," presents the same dilemma with multiple characters' interactions. Both plays place the viewer in a helpless position. By watching the Act Without Words, one can see the condensed meaning of Endgame.
    2. How did viewing the filmed production of Endgame affect your understanding of the play?
    I don't know that seeing the filmed production made the words themselves anymore significant, but, because a play is to be acted, the fact that so much effort and funding went into its production only furthers the ideas of pointlessness. ""WHY?!" I want to ask, but that is the point of it all. I thought that the acting did little, having read the play aloud, together, in class, but the set and colour-filter greatly enhanced the mood of some shots. The props helped to realize some things, also, but were not greatly influential upon my understanding of the play, either.

  113. 2. Watching 'Endgame' was rather boring mostly because we read the book shortly beforehand and I knew what they were going to say and do. This made it hard to concentrate through the entirety of the film and made it seem worse than it probably would be if I had time between the reading and the watching. Besides this, I was able to get a better idea of each character's personality then when we read the book in class. I was also able to see what the characters were doing instead of trying to hurriedly rush through the stage directions before the dialogue got to far ahead of me. Overall I got a greater sense of absurdity in the film and felt that seeing the characters faces and reactions showed me more of Samuel Beckett was tryingto get across then the wrds would alone.

    3. The Charlie Rose clip was weird. As I watched I was amused by the man repeating "yahoo and Microsoft" then quickly became annoyed as I realized that was all there was to the clip. Like Samuel Beckett's work the characters would talk of things repetitively only to find what they were doing was pointless and that they were going nowhere no matter how many times the phrase "we're getting on," was repeated. Within the clip one of the men mentions a man is unhappy, when he says that it feels like he's talking about me, the audience, the same way the audience is adressed in Endgame, and in both the phrases seem to come up at random with no real meaning at all.

  114. I'm doing this for the THIRD and LAST time because my computer is silly....

    1. From watching both of Beckett's films I noticed that all the characters overdramatized their actions in order to attach meaning to their otherwise pointless lives. Whether done by creating and maintaing dialogue, or running around frantically, chasing after dangling objects, they do such things only to keep themselves occupied and from drifting even deeper into the nothing, in which they currently reside. In an "Act Without Words", the main character (who is also the only character) clearly appears to be exhausted not only physically but also in the mental, and emotional sense. The man desperately runs back and forth chasing after floating objects that are never truly within his reach. Aside from this he also chases after the hope, the possibility of acquiring the distant items floating above him, that could in chance free him from the depressing isolation. From this film I saw a genuine need to escape but his constant failure enables him, leaving him to give up. However in Beckett's other film, "Endgame", although they have one another there is far more desperation not to continue but to end.

    2. I was originally excited to watch "Endgame" in class, partially (entirely actually) because when it was read in class Mr. Sharp and Benji did a riveting performance and their attitude while running lines was hilarious. But after ten minutes into the film, I like the characters in the film did nothing but await the end. Sure it was nice has the visual to to fully put into action what was read before in class but nevertheless, I would have much rather not spent eighty-four minutes watching the dry performance. Don't get me wrong I like "Endgame" for it's ability to turn nothing into something watchable, and I admit that it's themes are something that I've thought about because there interesting subjects but I wouldn't watch it again...ever.

    3. AHHH! Those two must be related! There are obviously incredible similarities in their styles, both very well depict the absurd, and both give information that seem important but its presented in a manner that is pointless and and thus giving the video and air of nothingness. The video has two main elements, the fact that there are two Charlie Rose in the video and second, the topic he starts to talk about that turns into chopped up phrases, like a mixed message that get treated like it has no meaning due to it's absurdness. It's meaning becomes nothing.

  115. #1: I was unable to find a very illuminating theme to go along with "An Act Without Words" and "Endgame". Most of all though, I end up coming back to the hopelessness of humanity, and our inability to maintain hope, especially in the face of uncertain odds. This is presented when, even with all of "An Act Without Words"' protagonist's trying, he cannot achieve his goal of getting the water. He finally gives in and gives up. Even when the water practically sticks itself in the protagonist's face, he has decided that no matter what, he will be unable to get it. This presents itself in "Endgame", when Clov realizes that no matter what he does, he is unable to get one hundred percent away from his life with Hamm, and when Hamm says, "Good," When Clov does not answer his whistle.
    #2: Viewing the film actually did not change my view of "Endgame". The dialogue was boring, the actions were boring, and most everything made no sense. I was severely tempted to fall asleep throughout the movie, same as with the written version. Most of the movie of "Endgame" was extremely predictable. I was unable to focus because of this, and found myself amused that I was actually paying attention to the movie.

  116. 1. The connecting theme in "Endgame" and "An Act Without Words" is the hopelessness and desperation in the monotony of daily lives. The man in "An Act Without Words" is unsuccessful at reaching the water, and even though he knows it is impossible because he has tried to reach it so many times, he still continues on with the cycle. This endless cycle is present as well in "Endgame" when Clov is constantly helping Hamm, however not knowing why he does because there is no point.
    2. Watching "Endgame" in class did not do much for helping me understand the meaning of the play. However, being able to visualize the set up of the stage made the whole experience more tangible. The film could have been entertaining to watch if we had not spent class time reading it out loud.

  117. 1. The individual in Act Without Words reminds me of Clov. The obedience the individual portrays to the whistle corresponds to the obedience Clov portrays to Hamm. In regards to the themes of Act Without Words and its correlation to the themes of Endgame, the only theme I seem to find is hopelessness, represented by Clov and the individual. Based on what I have obtained from the two plays, hopelessness is the only theme both plays indicated. In addition, both plays indicated their pointlessness and meaninglessness to the audience.

    2. Viewing the filmed production of Endgame did not affect my understanding of the play nor did it change my perspective. The film only emphasized the overall play was meaningless. In addition, the length of such meaningless play is necessary. The dialogue consists of repetitions, "we're getting on" and "Is it not time for my medicine", all of which cause the play to drag and therefore become meaningless. In general, if one is searching for a good play with morals or meaning, Endgame should not be an option.

  118. 1. An Act Without Words has absolutely no dialogue while Endgame is nearly all words so it is very difficult to imagine the two as being similar. Even so, they are. An Act Without Words has a pointless storyline. The young man trapped in the desert cannot leave the area shown by the television screen and every one of his attempts to defy this rule is useless and guaranteed never to succeed. In Endgame, every conversation is the same as that man's actions. The characters in Endgame have the most useless and pointless things to say and do not seem to get anywhere with their lives or come to any conclusion for the duration of the play. The few actions they use have just as little purpose. The uselessness of everything in the character's lives during the two plays, shows a similarity and a common theme that one would not expect to find there.

    2. Watching Endgame without having read it beforehand would have been exasperating. I found it very hard to follow much of what was going on on the screen. There was not enough action to assist in the comprehension of the dialogue. Having read the play beforehand was definitely useful and allowed me to add to what I already knew rather than to merely try and understand what was happening. I think that actually seeing the few things that the characters did and giving faces to what had before just been voices as well as giving them a location was very useful just to better understand the hint of a plot that was there. The strange play was just a bunch of words before. There was a point that had something to do with everything being pointless but the whole thing was confusing. Even if it is not completely necessary, it is always helpful to give a story a context no matter how simple the story is.

  119. And I posted late because I was in New York with no computer from Thursday afternoon until late last night.

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  121. 2) After watching the endgame. From the pieces that I saw(i had an orthodontist appointment), I felt as though the film contributed absolutly nothing to my prior understanding of the literary version. I was already aware of the themes. Including a "life long quest for something unatainable". Also an inevitable and common end of all lives, no matter the differrences. The film just stressed these themes in a repetitive and overindulging style. In more simple terms, this film was pointless and only created a bland version of what I had already read.

    1) The endgame and "Act without words" had corresponding themes. Including extreme suffering, life full of dullness, and longing for the impossible. We witness two old "garbage people" living only to eat, and someday be able to reach far enough to kiss eachother. Also, after being outside too long, they have no choice to retreat to their dark wholes. A theme contributing to the idea of eternal longing for something you will never achieve and eventually retreatfrom. Their age also contributes to the theme by implying that they will growing old and comming close to an end without any sucess.

  122. 2. Watching Endgame performed by British actors helped me understand little about the play. The performance was faithful to the script and the dialogue was a little difficult to understand with the actors' surly accents. I did, however, realize that Clov was in fact a man and not a woman. When reading the play, it seemed that their was a sexual attraction between Clov and Hamm when Hamm asked to kiss Clov. Other than the gender confusion on my part, the performance held little more significance then the written portion. The entire point to the play was the dialogue and the stage actions held little significance other than making physical sense to the audience.
    3. The meaningless exchange of dialogue in the Charlie Rose clip holds many similarities to Samuel Beckket's Endgame. The first similarity is that both performances show the absurdity of existence. Something so pointless as dialogue holds no other tangible or reliable meaning other than its own existence. That is to say that if one were to apply meaning to the dialogue in either Charlie Rose or Endgame, one would be missing the point in that their is no point. My "analysis" concludes that their is nothing to analyze for that would be combatting the moral of Samuel Beckket's Endgame. The only point to the game is that it remains.

  123. 2. Viewing the filmed production of Endgame helped me to visualize and appreciate the static nature of the setting. While reading the play, it is easy to get caught up in the dialogue and forget that it is all taking place in a single room. Contrastingly, while watching it, you can see that Hamm is immobile as well as the setting. This helps to generate a trapped tone because the viewer can only see one place in the filmed production. Seeing the play as opposed to reading it can create an entirely different Endgame experience because it is easier for the viewer to recognize the destitution of the characters.
    3. The Youtube clip contains the same absurd style that Beckett’s Endgame displays. The basis for the clip itself is absurd. There are two Charlie Roses arguing, which is a highly unlikely occurrence. Similarly, Endgame is set in a single room and surrounded by some sort of apocalypse. Performing a full play in a static setting is somewhat absurd because it is so unlikely and contrary to human life. Even more absurd, the play is about an old man dying, a fairly mundane incidence, but outside of the room in which he is dying, there is a drastic change taking place.

  124. 2. Through watching the film, a few minor details of the "story" were revealed. I use the term "story" extremely loosely due to the lack of plot that this work possesses. In watching the film version, minor actions were made more obvious and more recognizable. While reading the play, stage directions were often ignored due to the focus on the dialogue. Certain phrases in the movie were emphasized in a different way then I imagined when only reading the piece, but none of these things were truly beneficial in understanding the message behind it. Both the film and the written play create the message of meaninglessness and this is projected in both medias. Due to the simple stage set up and movements, the film was identical to the image I created in my mind upon reading the play. Because of this identical nature, viewing the film version did not prove beneficial to me, besides remind me of the meaningless that is "Endgame."

    3. The Charlie Rose clip reflected many similar factors to Beckett's "Endgame." Both display a meaningless series of dialogue that is often quick and contradictory. There are moments of almost an angry feeling where Clove and Hamm insult each other as well as when the two Charlie Roses' overlap the other. Coincidentally, there are also moments of silence in both pieces. Both works display the same meaning of meaninglessness and the ridiculous concept of existence without meaning. Microsoft, Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Radiohead?

    -Hannah Roberts

  125. James Tabor
    Period 8

    1. Endgame and Act Without Words are both absurd, pointless and have no plot. They both share the theme of an isolated setting, the characters are stranded. They are hopeless in this strange universe and will inevitably fail at whatever they try to succeed at. The man cannot reach the water and neither Hamm nor his parents will ever leave their home. Ome major similarity is that the beginning and end of each performance is exactly the same. Everything ends in the place it began in.

    2. While reading the Endgame in class I focused mainly on what little plot there was and the stories behind the characters. I tried to understand what the heck was going on: "Who are these people and why are they here?" I wondered. While watching the filmed version I could focus on the style of Beckett's words. Seeing his play in action emphasized every little stylistic phrase and pause. Having read the play prior to seeing it helped me understand a little bit of this performance that wasted 80 minutes of my life.

  126. 1. Act Without Words summarized the ultimate meaning of Endgame. Clov is the man in the desert, and Hamm is the all-powerful whistle. The man is completely helpless, having no chance in life with the persisting overseer demolishing his every chance of achieving anything in life. Because he can achieve nothing, the man's life proves to have little purpose. In order to give himself any sort of purpose in life, the man must at least try to gain the treasures set out by the whistling one.

    2.The Endgame movie, though it maintained the same meaning as the reading, the dialogue was the same, and the movements were all the same, it left me with a much different feeling when it finally ended. The reading gave the imagination a chance to fill in the unexplained gaps to a much greater extent than it could in the film. It had no real people to put their own twist on it, leaving all the pondering to the reader. Despite this issue, the film's detail allowed the gaps to be filled and explained more clearly and precisely. The characters were much more understandable as people when I actually saw and herd them. I could tell that Clov hated Hamm intensly, but knew that Hamm was the one source giving his life a meaning, and therefore could do nothing but accept it.

  127. 1. Although the Act Without words is essentially a condensed version of Endgame, portraying the same meaning, it does have some key differences. For example, when the man in the desert tries to leave the stage, he immediately gets flung back. In the Endgame however, there is no parallel to this. Also, the Endgame and the Act Without Words use two different methods to demonstrate the futility of life. In the Endgame, this futility is shown by the rambling and non sequitur dialogue, but in the Act Without Words, this futility was shown by the man's repeated inability to reach the items.
    2. The filmed version of Endgame highlighted the random rambling nature of the dialogue as well as give a clearer setting and background for the play. After reading the play, I did not have the same picture of the scene as did the movie--the characters were middle class people, and Hamm was not a beggar in rags. I assumed that the trash can characters were included for an entirely comical aspect, from which the play changed my views. Like any other well produced visual work, the actors and scene allowed a more complete picture of what Beckett was trying to portray beyond just dialogue.

    or it might just be that Beckett and his characters had just a bit too much pain killer for their own good.

    3 reminds me of Palin's interview with Couric about job creation

  128. 2. I was not particularly effected by the viewing of the endgame film. I remain solid in my views that this play was an utter waste of time that is only famous because pompous literary folks like to act lke they are knoledgelable and give credit to off beat works. These fame given to endgame and waiting for giddo i believe is completely undeserved. Anyone could write something completely meaningless if they wanted to, but most people have better things to do with their time. As for the movie, it is an exact copy of the ridiculous play: word for word, stage direction for stage direction. Thus it is no better than simply reading the play itself, it is still utter garbage.
    P.S. sorry to dis your favorite play writer mr sharp

    3. The youtube clip is very similar in several ways to beckett's "play" endgame. NOTHING HAPPENS. Sure, events take place, but they lead nowhere. It is a meaningless muddle of events, just as endgame was a meaningless muddle of dialogue. Yet somehow the youtube clip engages the viewer, whereas the endgame movie did not. this is probably because we as humans can relate to actions more than dialogue.

  129. 1. Act without words seemed to relate to what I saw of Endgame in the way that nothing was ever really accomplished. In Act without words the man did many different things leading up to no eventful conclusion, as it is the same with Clov doing many things that in end have no real effect to the future of the life he is living.

    3. I honestly have no idea what that was. I would say it only related to Endgame in the way that i had no idea what was going on in either of them, but they were both exceptionally funny.
    Maybe it's the fact that the youtube video was going nowhere that related to the going nowhere idea of Endgame? i dunno.

    Also this is Txai, i was too lazy to sign in

  130. 1. "Act Without Words" is torturously existential. Regardless of what the man does, nothing will ever actually change for him. In the beginning he is in a small desert valley and cannot escape, and after everything that comes and goes, he is still in the exact same situation. In "Endgame," various things occur, but they are relatively unimportant. There is an underlying static present in both works that is far more important than any specific plot point.

    3. "Endgame" is undebatably absurdist. The YouTube click is not just absurd, it's crazy. However, it does reflect the strange interaction - or lack thereof - between characters in Endgame. Just as questions and answers relate in some way or another, Beckett's dialogue is understandable as a conversation, but doesn't flow like one between a friend and me, for example. The characters are clearly aware of each other but responding as if in separate worlds.