Some people spend their whole life waiting. Waiting for someone, waiting for tomorrow, waiting to meet their God. It’s been over 15 years since Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting For Godot has been performed in Columbus. Billed as “one of the greatest plays ever written,” Waiting For Godot follows the now usual routine of a pair of old friends, Estragon, or Gogo (played by Jim Azelvandre) and Vladimir, or Didi (played by Jeff Potts).
The friends spend their time waiting by an old weeping willow tree, wishing time away, hoping a somewhat unknown person, Mr. Godot comes to – perhaps change their lives? Maybe for the better? One would hope for the better. That is what people usually hope for, isn’t it? For tomorrow to be better.
Further into the play, Gogo admits his unhappiness; often pondering suicide and wondering aloud if the two friends would be better off alone, saying “we weren’t made for the same road.” His thoughts trouble Didi, who fears being alone and has already rescued Gogo from the darkness of suicide once. The two have been together onward of fifty years and it’s decided that splitting up would no longer be worthwhile.
It’s a timeless play, playing on many of the nuances of human existence. Potts and Azelvandre have the camaraderie only a pair of old friends can have – they finish each other’s sentences, share laughs and troubling thoughts, and draw energy from each other.
Azelvandre is a very theatrical actor and it’s fun watching him on stage as his expressions and movements bring Gogo to life. From his early struggles of getting a worn out and a size-too-small boot off, to his later over the top expressions of gratitude, Azelvandre is a pleasant opposite to Potts’ slightly morose tones.
Nearing the middle of the play, an older man, Pozzo and his servant Lucky enter the stage. John Feather plays Pozzo with a very booming pompousness that takes over the stage for a bit. It takes a little time for the character to tone down and the interactions between Pozzo, Didi, and Gogo are somewhat amusing. They are all forgetful and sometimes overly polite.
Michael Moore does get a moment to shine during Lucky’s very intense ‘thinking’ soliloquy, causing Didi and Gogo extreme unease.
After Pozzo and Lucky leave, Gogo and Didi think over the occurrence and agree that the visit simply “passed time.” Not that they particularly enjoyed the visit, nor that they would like it to occur again. Simply that it passed time that would have passed anyway. Not a happy way to spend your days.
A boy (played by Robert Prines) then enters the stage to inform Didi that Mr. Godot is not coming this evening, but will for sure be there tomorrow. One wonders how many times that scene has occurred, and will it occur again?
See the play and leave wondering what are you waiting for, and is it worth it?
Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is presented by Shepherd Productions at MadLab Theatre, directed by Andy Batt. Remaining performances are September 7th and 8th, 13th-15th at 8pm and September 9th at 2pm. MadLab is located at 227 North 3rd Street and parking is available. Admission is $15, or $10 for Students and Seniors. For tickets, call 614-221-5418 or visit Shepherd-Productions.com. Stage Manager is Aran Carr, Set and Lighting Design by Doug Northeim, and Costume Design by Michelle Batt.
Shepherd Productions currently has a Kickstarter Project going to help pay for the production costs.