Even if you know nothing about Waiting for Godot, you’ve probably seen posters around campus with two morose figures staring out at you from under their bowler hats, and you may have wondered, “What is this all about?”
Written by Samuel Beckett in the late 1940s, this play is a tragicomedy in the genre of absurdist theatre. In the play, two men are waiting on a road for a man named Godot, but Godot never comes. Instead the play centers on their dialogue as they pass the time and the ultimate question of why they are waiting for Godot.
Cacey Williams directed this play as her theatre SIP project. In keeping with the theme of the play, the music and lighting were minimal to keep our attention focused on the actors instead of extraneous detail. The cast consisted of Austen Crim as Vladimir, Noah Lloyd as Estragon, Andrew Lupinek as Pozzo, Matthew Mindeman as Lucky, and Jonathan Austin as the Boy.
Lloyd and Crim’s onstage chemistry and teamwork as the two main characters was wonderfully evident. Especially notable were Crim’s facial expressions. Even with little going on plot wise, Crim’s expressions entertained and added so much to the meaning of the play. The physical humor between the main characters was perfect, while not being overdone.
Lupinek and Mindeman also gave stellar performances, playing the only other major characters in the show. Lupinek’s resounding voice and Mindeman’s intensely persistent acting made their time onstage quite exciting to watch.
Waiting for Godot has no conclusion and no plot, and yet there is much to be gained from watching this play. As they wait, Vladimir and Estragon spend their time talking about nonsense and looking for distractions, frequently repeating that there is “Nothing to be done.” Another phrase that Estragon in particular uses is, “I’m going,” but then he goes nowhere. These two phrases express the emptiness of their lives. They give no reason for waiting for Godot, and by the end we learn very little about him. All we know is that Godot will bring some purpose to the characters’ lives.
I found it impossible to watch this play without reflecting on my own life and thinking about my purpose. Why do we do anything in life? Do our actions mean anything or is it all just a way to pass the time? Most people, when they slow down from the fast pace of everyday life, feel a sense of meaninglessness. When we think about human existence, we may say, as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes does, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity…what has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:2, 9).”
As Williams said in her director’s note, “The playwright’s query goes out to all mankind, no exclusions. God is not afraid of your questions. Why should you be afraid to admit you have them?” After all, even Christians can feel that life is simply waiting for something that will never come. Waiting for Godot ultimately asks viewers to examine their answer to the question, “What are you waiting for?”
I highly recommend going to see Waiting for Godot. Covenant’s Drama Association put an enormous amount of effort into this show and it has certainly paid off, and Williams has a lot to be proud of. The final two performances will be on Nov. 20 at 8:00 p.m. and Nov. 21 at 2:30 p.m.