The Story of the Play and the Garbage Can

When I was in college, I was in a production of the play "Endgame" by Samuel Beckett. It's a very good and very bizzare play, and my character "Nell" was a very old woman who lived in a garbage can. This was good and bad. Good because I had exactly no blocking/stage directions to remember, bad because, well, I was in an effing garbage can, for chrissakes. My husband "Nag" was ALSO in a garbage can right next to me, so I wasn't alone in this adventure, and the other two actors had to stand the entire time, and sit/be blindfolded the whole time, respectively.

Like I said, it was a very bizarre play.

But it was also a great cast, and a very good production, if I do say so myself, and we had a good time. The awesome crew made the garbage cans out of plywood so they could be a LITTLE bigger, and cut a little doggie door in the back for Aaron (Nag) and me to climb in and out of at the beginning and end of each performance. My character died 20 minutes into the play, so I had a lot of down time to read and knit for the remainder of each performance.

Do you see where this is going?

Yes. I was TRAPPED in the garbage can, where I could not MOVE, for an hour and ten minutes every night, EVERY NIGHT after my character died. Aaron's character died too, and so both of us were huddled in the cans for quite some time every night. This? Is an excellent way to go insane.

Our director was very sweet and sympathetic, and gave us flashlights and coloring books/crayons for our tenure in the can, and I had books and my knitting to keep me busy. But still. Sitting with one's knees at one's chin for over an hour every night in the DARK is enough to make anyone a little squirrelly. Just a bit. A touch. A drop.

Aaron and I abandoned the coloring books rather quickly and started drawing on the sides of the cans. When they took the cans apart at the end of the run, we had graffitied the insides with increasingly disturbing drawings and scrawls of "HELP ME" and "GET ME OUT OUT OUT" in white crayon on the black wood. We also would poke our fingers out of the doggy doors and wave them at each other, trying to signal back and forth. It was so pathetic.

But the play was great!!!

What ALSO didn't help was the fact that the one book I left in the can to read (over and over and over) was "Angela's Ashes." Woooooo boy, is THAT a cheery tome to read whilst crammed in a plywood garbage can! So when I wasn't drawing demons and countdown slashes on the sides of the can, I was holding the flashlight under my chin, reading about dead Irish children and the misery of Limerick. It was…not the best book choice I've ever made. 

So that's the story of the play and the garbage can. Definitely one of the more interesting plays I've been in. I got LOADS of theater stories, people. BE WARNED!


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