Beckett’s masterpieces to grace Off Center stage |

Beckett’s masterpieces to grace Off Center stage

“Samuel Beckett shows us a mystery outside the grasp of any other dramatist. The feeling Beckett expresses on the stage is a note heard nowhere else in contemporary drama … Endgame … is a magnificent theatrical experience.” – The Sunday Times (London)

The Union staff

The Center for the Arts will present two one-act masterpieces by Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett in the Off Center Stage, April 5-28 – “Endgame” and “Act Without Words.” Both pieces will be directed by Michael Baranowski.

The cast of “Endgame” includes John Deaderick, Jimmy McCammon, Michael Moerman, and Marion Jeffery. “Act Without Words” will be mimed by Danny McCammon.

Although the plays of this Irish-born dramatist, novelist and poet are often regarded as stark and, according to some interpretations, pessimistic commentaries about the human condition, his audiences will find that his perceived pessimism is brightened by a great and often wicked sense of humor. In fact, some feel that his portrayal of life’s obstacles serves to demonstrate that the journey, while difficult, is ultimately worth the effort. So in the end, his work can be seen as optimistic about the individual’s ability to cope with society’s oppressiveness.

“Endgame” is considered by many critics to be Beckett’s greatest single work. The English title is taken from the last part of a chess game, when there are very few pieces left. Beckett himself was known to be an avid player of the game, and the struggle of the character Hamm to accept the end can be compared to the refusal of amateur chess players to admit an inevitable defeat, though professional players usually resign after facing a major setback.

Presenting this play has been a dream of Baranowski’s for more than a decade. “I feel the mix of entertainment, explosive movement, quiet reflection, wit, symbolism and provocation roil up into a delightful, surprising and emotional experience,” he said.

Danny McCammon, who has been acting for past seven years, is finding his first mime role to be a challenge. “It’s kind of hard to memorize something with no lines!” he explained. He sees the piece as a farce about how we all struggle to reach something that we can never really get, but we pursue it nonetheless.

“But it’s not a downer,” he says. “It should make audiences laugh.”

A free seminar with the director and cast members will be held at 5 p.m. before the Thursday, April 26, performance.

What: Endgame and Act Without Words – Two one-act masterpieces by Samuel Beckett

When: April 5-28 (Thursdays, April 5 and 26, 7 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays,

April 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, 8 p.m.; Sundays, April 15 and 22, 2 p.m.) A

special free seminar will be held on Thursday, April 26, at 5 p.m.

Where: Off Center Stage, 315 Richardson St., Grass Valley (directly behind

Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., downtown Grass Valley)

Admission: $15 adults, $12 seniors 65 and over or children 12 and under.

Admission to the Thursday, April 5, preview is on a “pay what you can”

basis. Tickets available through the Center for the Arts box office, 314 W.

Main St., Grass Valley, (530) 274-8384, ext. 14; and at the door, if


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