By Kate McAlister
I remember asking my son about his writing techniques and how could he sit and write, literally for days at a time until the poem, story or article he was writing was complete. His response, “my mind just won’t get out of my mind until I’m done. It is manic, but I need to get everything out or I might lose it”. As I watched a full rehearsal of Waiting for Godot Tuesday night, I thought this could have been the way Samuel Beckett wrote. It seemed a manic brain dump of random thoughts and nonsensical speak but so cleverly woven into one and half hours of thought provoking entertainment.
The plot of the play follows two main characters, Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), and their attempts at waiting for someone, or something, named Godot.
Michael Bigley and Dan Simons brought Vladimir and Estragon to full expression and embodied their characters expectations and tedium. Even the clothing made them loveable and sad at the same time. The timing and the rhythm of the play carries the audience along and while you are watching the performances you can’t help but think of all the underlying messages the play has to offer about the meaning of life and death and all of our human experiences.
This was the third time I have seen this play, once in the mid 70’s for an English Lit class, in the 90’s with a friend and now. Each time I had different thoughts about the play; in the 70’s who cared, the 90’s I liked it and it brought great conversation to the group I was with, but this time it was powerful. Perhaps due to the many life experiences I have accumulated and survived, including parenthood. All I know is I saw and heard things I hadn’t in the previous performances even though it is exactly the same verbiage.
Watching the actors bring these four characters to life was, for me, magic. I might be a bit biased since I know them all, nonetheless, they were brilliant. Robert Moore as Pozo was loud, obnoxious and brutal as he wielded power over his servant Lucky, played by Mike Clark. Moore took command of the stage the moment he came out and you knew he was someone powerful. He even boasted, “humans are the same as me, same as Pozo, made in God’s image”. Astounding arrogance well played. Clark portrayed the broken, brow-beaten serf, embodying the stereotype of downtrodden humanity. Even though Clark had only one line, he delivered it impeccably – all 10 minutes of it. Yes, you read correctly, all 10 minutes, one line. My ears were overwhelmed. It was stunning!
There is also a part called ‘A Boy’ played perfectly by Lucy Bigley. For me this character was the answer to who I think Godot is. It seems like a minor part and previously I had no memory of it, but this seemingly small part speaks volumes. ‘A Boy’ shows up in both acts and says, “He won’t come today, but surely tomorrow”. He knows Godot.
So who exactly is Godot? I asked the director and cast their thoughts regarding Godot and I received six different answers.
Dorothy Prophet (Director) said, “Godot is your true self. I don’t feel Godot is a separate entity, I feel it is your true self waiting to come out. If on any given day you don’t like who you are, you have a chance every day to become who you want to be. It is like the proverbial onion; on the top layer you think it is about God but as you really listen you start to peel away the layers and find out more things yet to discover.”
Mike Clark (Lucky)–“I have lots of theories but I think Godot, personally, is a metaphor for God. They are waiting for him and he never shows up. As for the two boys, I think one is Jesus and one is Satan, their a little bit different and yet the same. Vladimir, Estragon, Pozo and Lucky are the metaphors for humankind and what we are like waiting for God to show up.”
Lucy Bigley (A Boy)– “It depends on how you perceive the play. Is the play a metaphor for purgatory? It depends on the viewpoint. I really don’t have a definite answer.”
Dan Simons (Estragon) – “Oh, I think Godot is more of a metaphor for just life in general, the working man’s plight. We’re always doing the same thing day in and day out, waiting for something more significant to be happening.”
Michael Bigley (Vladimir) – “Who do I think Godot is? Becket was always being asked who Godot is and he had two sort of pat answers 1.’ If I wanted him to be God I would have called him God’ and 2. ‘I don’t know any more about these guys than you do, I just wrote down what they told me’. So to me what I love about Godot is that he’s undefined and that’s really what matters. To me the play is about the fact we all have to find things to structure our life around, but the thing is completely arbitrary. It doesn’t matter what Godot is, if they actually found out what Godot is, then they would have to structure their lives around something else. So life is essentially waiting, and what you do while you are waiting. Hopefully you amuse yourself and hopefully have someone else with you.”
Robert Moore (Pozo) – “I’m not quite sure. I think there is some dialogue that could refer it to God, but it’s interpretive to whoever you want it to be. Because I think the audience is going to relate to who Godot is in their own life. We’re always waiting for something”
I encourage you to see this play and find the answer for yourself who Godot is. As for me, I believe Godot is humanity in all its facets. It’s about change and how reluctant we are to do it. Remember ‘A Boy’? Didi and Gogo could have followed him back to Godot, twice, but they really didn’t want to change. It was safe where they were, exactly nowhere. This is what I think this time, who knows what I will think if I see it again someday. You decide and then let’s talk. I think we could have a whole study group around this play. Everyone sees things a little differently and from a new perspective. Isn’t life great.
Even the music is strategically fitting for the play. When you attend the performance see if you can tell how the music fits into the overall effect of the play, each song has a common aspect.
Come and enjoy this wonderful performance on its final weekend, Oct 9 & 10 at the Heartwood Center doors open at 6:30p show at 7:00p