Before we get started, I have one thing to admit: While I’d heard of Waiting for Godot before I went to see it last weekend, I didn’t know much about it.
I’m of the mindset that if I’m going to see something new, I don’t want to do much research. So, without knowing much, I headed to the Confetti Stage performance in Downtown. The performance space, at the Masonic Temple at 67 Corning Place, is intimate – which feels appropriate from the moment the actors step out.
For those – like me – with minimal or no information about Waiting for Godot, the play is an absurdist (focusing on characters’ experiences where they can find no purpose in life) play by Samuel Beckett. Here, we have Vladimir (Patrick White) and Estragon (Stephen Henel) who are – no shock here – waiting for Godot. We don’t know much about this person – nor, does it seem, do they.
In what appears to be a barren land, the two are accompanied on stage by a rock and tree. As you might imagine, it leaves little for them to discuss and conversation is strained at times. There are three other characters in the play, Pozzo (John A. Nickles), Lucky (Kasey Kenyon) and the boy (David DiPaola). When Pozzo and Lucky make their first appearance, the pair provides a much-needed distraction for Vladimir and Estragon; the boy, on the other hand, delivers the blowing news that Godot will not be coming today, but will tomorrow.
The cast is fantastic, right from the minute they start performing. White and Henel make the play feel human. Sure, maybe you’ve never been in a position destitute, but it’s easy to think that if you were you’d act just like Vladimir and Estragon do.
The play is intense, and uncomfortable at times, but that’s by design. Described as a “tragicomedy,” it’s an intimate look at what happens when you don’t have much for which to hope. The pair goes between laughing about the good ‘ole times to wishing the lone tree had branches strong enough so they can hang themselves. What you’re witness to is raw human emotion – for better or worse. Vladimir and Estragon find, simultaneously, comfort and discomfort in each other.
This isn’t a play that has a neat beginning, middle, and end. I left with a lot of questions and thought a lot about it after we left the venue – and that’s not something that happens a lot (for me anyway) when it comes to theatre. Whether you have seen the play before, or are looking for something new to experience, I highly recommend this production.
Don’t wait too long to get your tickets, it only plays through March 8, 2015. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.confettistage.org or call 518.460.1167.