Nell: A Creative Response to End Game
Creative Performance Script- Draft #4. Nell from Endgame by Samuel Beckett. (Existentialism/Theatre of the Absurd/World War Two)
(a play I studied in the EGL106 unit this semester for the university lecturer/Theatre Director, Mr. David Moody) I improvised the blocking/non-verbals. The final draft was shorter…could not find it.
Creative Performance Script:
My husband and son laughed at our misfortunes, but they did nothing to change our situation.
They just continued talking, bemoaning their aches and ignoring me.
Sometimes I just wanted to scream and tell them I hate them!
My words meant nothing to them, they might as well have been deaf too.
But what are words? Words are not enough, they fail us.
Words can be false.
Decorated so much, they mask the pungent smell of decay and dishonesty.
Words do not stop wars. Words do nothing to heal these scars that we hide.
Words don’t bring life to the dead or joy to the living.
People tell us they love us, but they can also say such harsh words, that we no longer believe them.
Yet others speak for the sake of speaking. Is it because they have something say? Do they like the sound of their voice? Or is it because they want to distract themselves from their broken reality?
What can you do to tell them if they do not want to hear?
What is the point in seeing if we only see what we want to see?
We are all broken, but some people are better at hiding it. Our ignorance blinds us.
My family was among the forgotten ones of society, on the sidelines, left there to die.
There’s no rest for outcasts, refugees, the disabled or the sick.
All we want to do is hide. From the world, from our family and from ourselves.
My family were no longer who they used to be after the Second World War.
The tension was always there, even after the war… it festered.
We were stuck in a cycle of suffering, manipulation and hatred.
Sometimes I even mistreated my own family.
My own family felt like strangers. We didn’t understand each other.
We were no longer what we used to be. But then I wonder if we were any better before.
Who are we really? I was not myself, but who was I to begin with?
Even my own thoughts plagued me, I made crass decisions and I could not move!
It made me feel so bitter and unhappy!
Do other people even care, do they understand that everyone suffers?
My husband no longer looked at me tenderly, he was only bitter.
He couldn’t see past his own garbage!
His sight had failed him, but I don’t understand why that would make him love me any less.
I cried every day, he harmed me without even doing anything.
He nagged me but I never knew what I did to bother him.
I still remember my lover’s voice, singing to me, cuddling me in his arms and his hairy chest pressed against me, keeping me warm. I remember the way he made me feel loved.
He still remembered me as being youthful, but I was not. I was weary.
My body was not what it used to be, nor was my memory.
How could I be kind to him or love him if I was so bitter?
My voice failed me. My hearing failed me. My words failed me. My body failed me. My mind failed me. My memory failed me. My marriage failed me.
My love and joy have no home.
How could I have possibly changed our situation? I felt so useless!
All my family yearned for was the freedom of death.
But how can you know what freedom is if you are not allowed to be free?
What future did I have, too broken to move!
What about my son? I dedicated so much time to raising him and loving him.
But will my efforts be enough?
How can he learn from my mistakes if he does not learn from his own?
But the war changed him… all I saw when I closed my eyes, was his face twisted in anger and sweat.
His words speared me in the dark. Yet I was incapable of understanding him.
I shouldn’t expect him to live better than me. He makes no effort to live. We’re only his pawns.
I used to think that the future lies in our children. Their parents are the foundation to their growth.
Yet how can they lead us to a better world if they aren’t being cared for to the best of our ability?
What hope do they have if their parents are already broken?
They aren’t safe if their parent’s love crumbles.
There’s nothing left of society but ruin. What we require is a new one to grow out of the ashes.
The best my generation can do now is plant the seeds.
But we aren’t gardeners! We are flawed, we will make mistakes.
This is not what living should be like. It’s harder to see the beauty in the world.
It’s impossible to laugh, or feel lasting hope or joy. Even our ability to love and care is muted.
Our greatest gifts taste like ash on another’s tongue.
Are we all hypocrites? Why is it easier to lie than to tell the truth?
We are not true to ourselves or our friends. We cannot love who we want to love.
We are so guarded around everyone, even those closet to us.
Who are we really? Do we truly know ourselves?
We don’t live, we only survive.
I refuse to continue living in this broken world!
At some point I gave up but it doesn’t matter anymore.
I don’t have anything to live for now.
Because in death’s embrace; there lies the sweet breaths of release, remembrance and reflection.
There is comfort to be had in the silence and darkness of the void.
Here I wait in hope for my new life to begin…
I hope for life after death and I wait for the signs of divinity.
This is a sick joke that I continue to wait, even in death.
All I have now are my thoughts and memories….
I shortened it on stage while I was performing… mainly because I needed to be within time limits and it needed to flow better (it wasn’t very smooth in performance otherwise)
This monologue takes place after Nell dies in Endgame since the playwright, Samuel Beckett prevented the characters from finding meaning or perceiving reasons to continue living. I thought that Nell would find meaning after she died, bit dreary I know. :/ I chose to write a monologue from Nell’s perspective because I found her the most interesting and I related to her the most. I felt she had a lot to say if given the chance and that her memory would be given clarity. I wanted to experiment with the possible existentialist reflections she could have if not restricted by Beckett’s lines or vision for her in the original play.
It all ends for Nell… She grieves for her family and their struggle to exist. She finally voices her thoughts on her life and what she thinks of her family. Her motivation to live was for supporting her husband and son. She reflects on the difficulty of living in a society of broken people after the Second World War. Since she’s the only one to die in the play, she hopes to find happiness and peace.
((It’s almost like she’s testing death out for her husband and son but I don’t think they’d fully appreciate all her efforts.))