Four people, two ash bins and a toy dog may not seem like much come the end of time, but these components have propelled Samuel Beckett’s Endgame to more than 50 years of critical praise. Starting next weekend, the Stiemke Theater brings Endgame back to Milwaukee.
When the sheet is pulled off Mark Corkins on March 21, it will be his second time in the role of the blind, sickly Hamm. Years ago, Corkins played Hamm in the tiny confines of the UW-Milwaukee Studio Theatre. With its larger stage, the Milwaukee Rep has a much bigger canvas to work with. On the flip side, however, the Rep will face difficulty in bringing the immediacy of the characters’ emotional realities to one of the largest studio theaters in the county.
As seen before at UWM, the perpetually restless decay of Hamm’s sickness breathes a fascinating counterpoint through Corkins’ powerful, deeply resonant voice. Lee Ernst will fill the role of Clov, the reluctant servant who comes ever closer to leaving the dying Hamm.
Without Clov’s aid, Hamm would be left helpless, thus unraveling the tension that holds the play together.