Author/Playwright: Samuel Beckett
Cast: Ian McKellen , Patrick Stewart
Running time: 2 Hrs 40 Mins
Location: Haymarket Theatre
by Erica Krasickaite
I suppose that given the written, acting and producing talent involved in bringing this play to London, the audience would not expect anything short of an excellent production. And they would not be disappointed. The play hits every note, just the way it had done when it was first unleashed onto the London theatre land over 50 years ago.
The central premise of the play senters on the theme of waiting and time. The idea of putting a nigh on three hour play about the passage of time might be in itself a daunting one to the audience, but the mastery of the performers and the production ensures that is remains an entertaining, distressing and comical in turn. The opening scene greets us with two men, Estragon and Vladimir, sitting by the ruins of a house, seemingly homeless, hopelessly waiting for the mysterious Godot. Time passes, one can notice the change of days, weeks and seasons by the state of the solitary tree that is to be found in the surroundings, and the men carry on talking, joking and waiting.
The unmistakable themes of depression and suicide can also be indentified, from one poignant scene where one of the men has a moment of recognition of the pointlessness of their endeavour and attempts to hang himself from the aforementioned tree. The truly uncomfortable and even downright disturbing moments are, however, the prolonged scenes when the two men meat Pozzo and his slave Lucky. What ensues is a truly distressing depiction of servitude, the humiliation entailed alongside the class, rank and hierarchical divide of the British society, as well as the erosion of self-identity and expression that is entailed therein. In short, this is a powerful production that is helped along by effective use of lighting and minimal set, consisting mostly of one tree that is symbolic of some many themes of the play.
If you have not been fortunate enough to catch this production, I urge you to check for future ones; it is, after all, one that had been voted “the most significant English language play of the 20th century”