The Story: Fin de partie

HAMM: I’ve got on with my story.
(Pause.)
I’ve got on with it well.
(Pause.)
Ask me where I’ve got to.
CLOV: Oh, by the way, your story?
HAMM (surprised): What story?

 

The plot of Fin de partie (‘Endgame’) is
difficult to distill into a synopsis – or very
easy: Hamm, a blind man in a wheelchair,
is waiting for the end. Outside, the end of
the world might have already come. Inside,
he talks to his parents, Nagg and Nell,
who live in two garbage cans, and with his
clownish servant-sidekick Clov.
 

HAMM:
What’s happening, what’s happening?
CLOV:
Something is taking its course.

 

György Kurtág long toyed with the idea of
adapting Samuel Beckett’s Fin de partie –
he attended one of its first performances
when he was in his thirties – into an opera,
and he realized the plan at the age of 92.
Unlike in the original play, the action is not
presented as a continuous whole; Kurtág
set five long sections of text entirely to
music, including the many pauses Beckett
calls for in his stage directions. Using
sparing and cleverly-chosen means,
Kurtág renders the music inherent to
Beckett’s language into a fitting sound
world.

HAMM:
And now?
(Pause.)
Moments for nothing, now as always,
time was never and time is over, reckoning
closed and story ended.

 

LIST OF SCENES

1. Prologue I / Prologue II Roundelay
2. Clov’s pantomime
3. Clov’s first monologue
4. Hamm’s first monologue
5. Dustbin
Song: The World and the Trousers
6. Novel
7. Nagg’s monologue
8. Hamm’s second to last monologue
9. Hamm and Clov’s dialogue
10. ‘C’est fini, Clov’ and Clov’s vaudeville
11. Clov’s last monologue
12. Transition to the Finale
13. Hamm’s last monologue:
The novel’s end
14. Epilogue