Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is a classic play that has always been open to interpretation. Some think the play is about God , about death, or even just about life in general.
Instead of worrying about meaning of the play, audiences should ask three questions: Does the meticulously crafted language sound natural? Does it feel as though things are happening? And most important of all, is it funny?
In the Pierce College production, which runs through April 3, the answer to all three is a hearty yes.
Waiting for Godot begins with two men on a barren road by a leafless tree. Vladimir (Cole Cook) and Estragon (Vince Cusimano), who are also known as Didi and Gogo, are waiting for a man whose named Godot. During the entire play they can’t be sure if they’ve met Godot, if they’re waiting in the right place, if it is the right day, or even whether Godot is going to show up at all. While they wait, Vladimir and Estragon fill their time with a series of random activities and trivial fast paced conversations interspersed with more serious reflection.
The friends are soon interrupted by the arrival of Lucky (Bryan Hampton), a man/servant/pet with a rope tied around his neck, and Pozzo (Joshua Celaya), his master, who is holding the other end of the long rope. The four men proceed to do together what Vladimir and Estragon did earlier by themselves, nothing.
Lucky and Pozzo then leave so that Vladimir and Estragon can go back to doing absolutely nothing by themselves. The nothingness is quickly interrupted by the arrival of the Boy (Giovanni Collins) who reports to Vladimir that Godot isn’t coming today but will be there tomorrow. Dubious, as Vladimir’s suggests that the Boy has said this before.
Estragon and Vladimir then continue to talk and then decide to leave, since it’s nightfall and they no longer have to wait for Godot. Of course, having resolved to leave, neither one of them moves, and the lights go out on Act I.
The lights come up for Act II, which is strangely similar to Act I. The men are still sitting around waiting for Godot and try to fill the idle hours in the meantime. Lucky and Pozzo show up again only this time Lucky has gone mute and Pozzo is blind.
Vladimir starts to gets poetic wondering if maybe he’s sleeping, agreeing with Pozzo’s claim that life is fleeting, and concluding that habit is the great deadener of life. Pozzo and Lucky leave again, just in time for the Boy to show up again and tell Vladimir that Godot isn’t coming today either but will be there tomorrow.
Vladimir and Estragon then contemplate suicide, but have no rope. The men once again decide to leave since it’s nightfall and they no longer have to wait for Godot, but neither man moves and the theatre lights fade out. The play ends but I think everyone knows what happens next.
Overall, the cast of Waiting to Godot did a great job portraying each character in Beckett’s classic play with wonderful direction by Valorie Grear and amazing set design by Michael Gend. It’s something you shouldn’t miss. But be sure if you see this play to pay attention because it may be called Waiting for Godot but you definitely won’t be waiting long for a great performance.
Waiting for Godot runs through April 3 in the Dow Arena Theatre