Theatre, Dance and Comedy
Waiting for Godot at the Library Theatre
Waiting for Godot
Samuel Beckett’s play has been voted the most significant English Language play of the twentieth century, yet few can claim to understand what it really means, and I am no exception.
“Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful.” These lines from the play provide an accurate account of what occurs in Waiting for Godot, except it is not awful - confusing yes but not awful.
Split over two days, the play begins and ends with two tramps, Vladimir (David Fielder) and Estragon (George Costigan), waiting by a tree for Godot. But they know nothing of Godot or how long they have been waiting for him, assuming that Godot is a man, of course.
Their time served is interrupted only by the crossing of Pozzo (Russell Dixon), whip in hand, and his servant Lucky (David Nielson), characters who are considered to symbolise the oppression of man by his master. Like Vladimir and Estragon, for reasons unknown, Pozzo and Lucky are tied together, unable to exist on their own.
Corrie star David Nielson as Lucky.
The tramps do talk of leaving, of going their separate ways, but as day turns to night the hopelessness of their situation draws them closer together. It seems easier to stay together than to face the world alone.
There is humour in amongst their frustration but these moments are few and too far between for Vladimir and Estragon who twice consider hanging themselves from the tree. “So what is there to do?” asks Estragon. With no answer to this question, or any of their questions, and no sign of Godot, still they wait for him, whoever he may be.
Who is Godot?
The identity of Godot is probably the most significant question of all. The play’s religious references turn your thoughts to God - is he the man who will save them? Yet another question left unanswered. But one thing is certain - this is a play about waiting - for what and for who, though, remains unknown.
With little action, this play relies on its dialogue, which is delivered with perfect pace by a cast who give a committed performance to this somewhat baffling production.
David Fielder and George Costigan are convincing in their despair, all the while displaying the qualities of a married couple. Russell Dixon’s take on Pozzo is a scene stealer and Coronation Street star David Neilson never falters in his role as the tethered servant.
Performed for the first time in English in London in 1955, this tragic comedy continues to intrigue, to baffle and to amuse. I suspect we will still be waiting for Godot in centuries to come.
Waiting for Godot shows at the Library Theatre until March 8.
last updated: 15/02/2008 at 10:51