Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Polish Jan Kott's imposition of Shakespeare's "King Lear" into Samuel Berkett's "Endgame" knocked the impressionable for an intellectual loop.
Now the Playwright's Co-op, under the direction of Harry Schwartz, is presuming its "Endgame" at Washington Project for the Arts, 1227 G St. NW, where there will be performances nightly through Sunday at 8 p.m.
Schwartz leans on Kott for his well-considered production, but Kott, trapped by lingual barriers, never did grasp Beckett's Irish heritage.
This sound, tempo and temper has been captured by only one player I have watched, the late Jack MacGowran, whose Irishness who so critical a link to Beckett. When MacGowran played Beckett, several times in this country, at the Kreeger as well as on TV the tone of impish disillusion was was perfectly achieved, for its Beckett's tone is bleak it also is, or should be, lilting and prankish.
Thus Kott's theorizing of this, the related "Waiting for Godot," and other plays, necessarily uses the concepts of the words but not their peculiar music. This has been a disservice, and not even Alan Schneider's understanding introductory productions ever really caught the Irishness of Beckett.
Within the Kott concept, Schwartz and his company work knowingly including his design for the WPA's third-floor environmental space.
The plights of Clov, acted by Michael Henderson, and Hamm, his demanding employer, acted by Jerry Paone, are clearly expressed. Henderson's choice of no accent seemed to me wiser than Paone's assumption that Hamm must have a touch of upper-middle British. Jack Halstead and Deidre Laurakas, as Hamm's half-buried parents, complete the cast for this earnest, if humorless, production.