Waiting for Godot is an absurdist play written by Samuel Beckett and first published in French in 1949. It follows two men who are waiting on an old country road for someone called “Godot,” though neither they nor the audience know what will happen if he ever arrives. It is also the latest project of Covenant senior Cacey Williams, who is directing it for her SIP this November. Williams is best known for her work as resident lighting designer for the Theatre Department, for her portrayal of Titania in last year’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and for her involvement in last semester’s Ten Minute Play Festival. Much of the critical discussion of Waiting for Godot has been concerned with its interpretation. The director wanted to take a moment to address the initial concerns surrounding the play with auditions for the show being around the corner.
Over this weekend I’ve made several attempts to pen a promotion for the Waiting For Godot auditions. This seemed like a fairly simple task and yet I haven’t been able to write an article that satisfies the excitement and concern surrounding the play. I should have anticipated this, since a big part of the decision to direct this play were those very reasons. And I’ve found that it’s like trying to condense my SIP into a few words, without having completed the project yet. So I’ll just try to say a little about the piece to hopefully ping your interest, and get people to come audition.
Waiting For Godot is a masterpiece written by Samuel Beckett in 1949, wherein he composes a story where nothing happens but somehow is still about everything. You would think that would be a spoiler, but it’s not. This play is a poetic, hysterical, sad, slapstick, tragicomedy and is considered the cornerstone of modern contemporary drama.
Absurdist theatre is a very particular realm of drama that can be kind of disorienting to a first time viewer. And with this play in particular, I’m concerned that there is stigma surrounding the subject matter that will keep people from participating in it. For anyone who doesn’t know what I’m referring to I’ll just catch you up.
The popular interpretation of the text can and has lead to this overly simplified broad statement: Man idly waits for God to show up and God isn’t coming either because he a.) doesn’t exist b.) doesn’t remember/care or c.) is sadisticly testing man for a purpose unknown. (that kind of was a spoiler)
Now, I am not saying that those themes/questions are not in the play. They are some of the big ideas that the audience will wrestle with. However, I don’t think the typical reactionary response of the popular contemporary church is the right response to this piece. The world of Godot is far more complex and enlightening than an anti-God campaign. I don’t want to try to simplify it because I run the risk of over-simplifying it. So at this point I’m asking for a bit of grace moving forward with the production; be open-minded to there being something more to this play that is worth sharing and considering.
Tiptoeing forward, I wanted to put something in the Bagpipe because I need actors. Despite all of the weight presented above, this is a playful, witty, deeply complex show. The questions and moments that the players are afforded are fantastic.(which isn’t an experience very often given to the 20 year old actor.) These parts are both immensely serious and completely hysterical. Comedians often get mistaken as not taking the world seriously. This show allows the comic to be seriously funny without taking on the role of the clown. Leading the show is a Charlie Chaplin-esque comedy duo, like Abbott and Costello (Don’t know who that is? YouTube “Who’s on First?”), asking the big questions for the world. Please don’t write it off, and if you’re an actor or a comedian please come to auditions. This is typically an all male cast but I’m hoping to cast a female in at least one role. Hope to see you there.
Auditions for “Waiting for Godot” will take place Sept 16-17. The Theatre Department will post the time and place closer to the date, so keep an eye out. There are four major parts, including one that is almost entirely pantomime. And the director would like you to be prepared to tell a joke. The show will run Nov 13-14, and Nov 20-21.
More on the “big questions” to come