Godot worth the wait
WAITING for Godot has been called the most significant play of the 20th century.
Written by Irish playwright Samuel Becket in the middle of last century, the play could at first seem too dense and tedious to hold an audience’s attention. But this tedium is interspersed with frantic activity which works only if the two main protagonists are thoroughly believable. John Robertson as Estragon and Michael Sams as Vladimir perform at a dazzling level of slapstick, comedy and drama.
Their search for relief from bouts of pitiable boredom leads to the clever dialogue and pratfalls which make the roles so sought after by outstanding actors. They are more than vagabonds or clowns; they are a metaphor for a hopelessness of existence.
These two are stuck in an existential nowhere, while waiting for a man called Godot, who never comes, but their hope for his arrival is their only reason to endure. Is this purgatory for two poor, tortured dead souls, or perhaps a nightmare being experienced by one, or even both?
There are three other critical characters that make up the cast. Pozzo is an arrogant, condescending, slave- driving, supposed squire. His transformation from pretension and pomposity to dejection and humiliation is well handled by Max Lenoy in a great performance.
His ironically named slave, Lucky, has much stage time and just one speech in the entire play, but it consists of 736 words, rattled off in a seemingly unintelligible gibberish, but which in fact has meaning if you can refer to the script and have access to Becket’s notes ( or these days you can just Google it). In an exceptional performance, Colin Livesy makes these words poetic and his character touching.
The seemingly inconsequential role of Boy is actually pivotal in explaining more of the plight of our pair of pitiable beggars and Lachlan Carey is faultless in the
Waiting for Godot.