What's it about?
This is the story of Andre before he was (THE Giant) along with the beloved Samuel Beckett.
What I experienced?
This story was very captivating and it was really humbling. It's incredible to know that if you work hard enough, you will meet your friends at the top and will be having incredible conversations that people will pay money to just listen to.
A day after this unexpected snow day in New York City I made my way to 59E59 Theater in Manhattan to go see Sam & Dede or My Dinner with Andre the Giant. I’m really appreciating the theater more and more. It’s like one of the most relaxing activities that I get to do in my day to day. My mind, body, and soul urges for a theatrical sweet escape every month.
I, personally, chose this play because I am a huge wrestling fan from the past to the present. I recently saw a bag of my old wrestling toys that put the biggest smile on my face because it reminded me of the beautiful childhood that I was grateful to have thanks to my astounding mother. I read the description just to make sure my simple expectations of seeing someone play Andre the Giant were going to be fulfilled. And from what I read… they were.
This was a very intimate black box. The stage was lit with royal blue lighting, setting a very ominous vibe - all they needed to top it off was a little fog to throw me off more than I already was. The set was pretty plain. There were just cube blocks and square flats. There were a bunch of cubes hanging from the ceiling, coming out of the wall on stage, and cubes on stage that were used as props.
The play began with Brendan Averett playing Andre and Dave Sikula playing Samuel Beckett. Mr. Averette is a pretty tall dude so the illusion of him being a 12-year-old and later in the play an early twenties Andre the Giant that was between the height of 6’2" and 7’4" was there. Lolol. Something that threw me off, at first, was the fact that Brendan Averett was balding and I remember Andre always having little curls or that big fro. So it was funny to have that look on Andre but I got used to it.
The relationship between these two was very compelling. The facts that were presented to me were so heartwarming, even though I wasn’t sure if they were all that true. Like the first part of the play was when Andre was 12 years old and met Mr. Beckett because he owed his next door neighbor (Andre’s father) a favor after Andre’s father did some work on Mr. Beckett’s cottage and did not have enough money to pay him.
Andre was apparently a very shy young man who was extremely self conscious about his height and the attention that he attracted in public, especially at school. Andre did not want to sit in the front of Mr. Beckett’s pick up truck, he did not want to sit in any car because he thought he looked silly, like he didn’t fit. But when he did, he sat in the open bed of the pickup truck, and he felt comfortable. Andre played cricket in school and refused to fight his bullies because he was afraid that he would hurt them and that had me like “oh shit”. Andre was just an innocent 12-year-old French boy that was just different in height.
A real EYE BROW RAISER was how much of a drinker Andre was!!!!! This dude took down cases of beer in a night...BY HIMSELF. He even told a stories, often involving other wrestlers, of when he would black out in bars and wake up in 'em because nobody could move him, lmaooo. Speaking of other wrestlers, he even foreshadowed Hulk Hogan beating him at Wrestlemania III by laughing at Mr. Beckett's question "what if somebody beats you?" Andre responded with "Hahaha, nobody could beat me". All I was seeing in my head at that moment was:
I usually like to research shows that have to do with a specific untold history. But, I did not do my research and I ended up doing research after the show at home, before writing this. I had no clue who Samuel Beckett was… Please forgive me if this offends any of you… after the show, I trapped myself for a whole day in the drama book shop to do my research on him. I mean, in the play, Andre always referred to him as the famous playwright, while emphasizing he had fans. Turns out that this started off as a myth but then became a fact throughout time. This has to be one of the strangest celebrity encounters in history.
In my research, I ended up watching this trippy play called Play by Samuel Beckett, that the cover of the playbill and the ending of the performance were based off. Andre and Mr. Beckett ended up reenacting the play by both talking really fast at the same time about their last encounter between them during their lives, while standing in barrels.
One of my favorite moments in the show was when Andre questioned Beckett’s writing. His work seemed to have always been comically complex. Beckett was a very confused man. He didn’t think he was a good playwright, he didn’t know why people liked his plays, he didn’t know what his plays were about, he didn’t know the meaning behind the purpose of his plays - lmaoo. The way Andre questioned this man’s craft was hilarious. Especially when he broke down Waiting for Godot. “Why is everyone in your play waiting for someone that’s never going to show up? Why are all the characters always confused through out the play as if none of them have a clue what they are doing?” Mr. Beckett had no idea how to answer those questions. I guess some things don’t have to be explained as long as they are entertaining.
Want to see it?
$15 Student Rush
@ 59E59 Theaters
thru Apr. 1
What did you experience?
Let PXP know in the comments below...