Thursday, 27 December 2012

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (5/5) [re-read]

GoodReads says: A seminal work of twentieth century drama, Waiting for Godot was Samuel Beckett's first professionally produced play. It opened in Paris in 1953 at the tiny Left Bank Theatre de Babylone, and has since become a cornerstone of twentieth-century theater. The story line revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone or something named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree on a barren stretch of road, inhabiting a drama spun from their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, which has been interpreted as a somber summation of mankind's inexhaustible search for meaning. Beckett's language pioneered an expressionistic minimalism that captured the existentialism of post-World War II Europe. His play remains one of the most magical and beautiful allegories of our time.

I say: This is one my all-time favourite plays and I want nothing more than to get a chance to see it live on stage. Although that’s usually a tad scary since the characters act in my head the way I want them to, and I really don’t want to be disappointed.
Which is kind of funny since not much really happens in this play.

We have Estragon and Vladimir who, while they are waiting for Godot, talk about how much they hate waiting for him/her/it and run into a man, Pozzo, with another man pretending to be his dog, Lucky. And that’s pretty much the entire play.

Obviously the genius lies in the dialogue; the play on words; the desperation and reluctance to leave their spot. At the end of Act I a boy shows up to tell them that he has a message from Godot; that he will show up tomorrow.
So they stay.

Act II is pretty much the same as the previous one; more play on words, Pozzo and Lucky show up, and Estragon and Vladimir get more desperate. And at the end the boy returns to say that Godot will come the following day.

Like I said, the magic lies in the dialogue and the fact that we don’t know how long they have been waiting for Godot, how long they will continue to wait for Godot, or even who Godot is. People have been pondering/debating over whom Godot is for yonks, and the most common thought is that Godot is God, which Beckett rebuffs. Every time I re-read this play I try to find new theories of who Godot may be, and the most exciting part is trying to make all the pieces fit.
Oh, and laughing at poor Vladimir and Estragon, of course.

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