Wait for it….
I never did get around to writing about my trip to New York. I’ll start by reviewing or more acurately, I guess it could be described as gushing, about the play I went to the big city to see – “Waiting for Godot.” Click to go to the Roundabout site – the play is closed but they still have videos and interviews so you can get a sense of the play, performers and production.
I remember having read this play in college and seeing student performances of the piece. I remember thinking, oh my lord, what a grey and depressing piece. It did move me for what I believed it said about life, i.e., life is just waiting around for the invariable end and nothing ever really happens (kind of like Seinfeld but not as cheerful). I understood its place in theatrical history (I was one of the weird theater majors – I actually enjoyed theater history). And even through the lackluster student performances, you could get a sense that it was an “important” theatrical art work, but I never got a sense of why it was touted as such.
All that said, let me be honest, I went to see this production of Godot because of the performers: Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin (John Goodman and John Glover were just icing on the cake). I went cross-country just to see them and I was not disappointed. Well, what can I say, sometimes shallowness pays off. This production of Waiting for Godot was eye-opening. My seat was three rows from the stage and I could watch the smallest of gestures and movements between the actors and I never once got a sense that they were anything other than the characters they were portraying. I believed I was there with them and was watching all this as it happened to them. Many is the time while watching a play you get this wink at the audience attitude and you can feel the actors repeating their lines more my rout than actually feeling what they are saying. That was not the case here.
The play was funny and fun and sad and pathetic and oh, now I understand the truth in the nothing. The play to me was about the relationship between the two men. A relationship grown stale by repetition and familiarity. And although affection exists between them, they are trapped in an endless and nonsensical loop from which they cannot break free while waiting for something that will never happen.
Having said that at one point watching the performance it seemed to me that it was more of an internal dialog. The characters representing the parts of the consciousness of one being waiting for that outside force to free it from its endless loop of non-events. The set could be interpreted as the interior of a skull – but again, that could just be me. It was a rock and sand and grey….
I tend to over think things, or couldn’t you tell. I sort of wish I had the financial ability to have gone to see the London production of Godot with Sir Ian and Patrick Stewart – that production ends on August 8th – so chances are I’m not going to make it (click on poster to go to site).
But you can’t have everything…. and the Broadway production was more than satisfying.