Hamm is blind and unable to stand; Clov, his servant, is unable to sit; Nagg and Nell are his father and mother, who are legless and live in dustbins. Together they live in a room with two windows, but there may be nothing at all outside.
There are five survivors in a futuristic library. Bam is their supreme dictator, and has the others interrogated and tortured, believing them to have said where. What Bam means is unclear, but he distrusts all.
The first line trades off of Macbeth: "When did we three meet last?" But her companion will have none of that: "Let us not speak."
Three women occupy a park bench. One by one they leave, strolling into the opaque darkness at the edge of the stage, and come back. As each vanishes, her two friends share a secret. At the end they join hands "in the old way," and the sudden, smooth unity between the three shadowy characters can make your neck-hairs stand straight up.
The essence of Beckettian minimalism, this extraordinarily rich "dramaticule" consists of about a hundred and thirty words, surrounded by long, opulent silences. It's an almost blank slate and it's magnificent. Peter Brook classified Beckett's work as "Holy Theater" -- that which strives to make the invisible visible -- and of all the showy adaptations in the Beckett on Film series, this simply staged eight-minute ceremony best supports Brook's notion. To be watched and rewatched.
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