Don’t Wait to See “Godot”

Monday, May 29, 2017

The set of “Waiting for Godot” at the Dock Street Theatre

METICULOUS STAGE DIRECTION, impeccable timing, and mime-like stillness provide the baseline for this excellent production. On top of that baseline, director Garry Hynes plays Samuel Beckett’s fascinating melody of charged one-liners with a delightful mix of profundity and playfulness.

Yes, “Waiting for Godot” is long and intense, but that’s because it’s so full of emptiness—which was Beckett’s intent. Once you understand this, his play begs a different kind of endurance. Even the zen-like stage with its serene backdrop, neutral tones, bare tree, and stone stoop invite you into the emptiness of “nothing to be done” with Beckett’s characters.

Marty Rea (Vladimir) and Aaron Monaghan (Estragon) seem like a match made in Beckett’s heaven with their diction, delivery, syncopation, and force. Together, they beautifully dramatize silence while interchanging their roles as the Abbot and then Costello for each other. Mr. Monaghan brings to his performance an obvious penchant for understatement that blends seamlessly with Mr. Rea’s predilection for dramatic wit and physical humor. Their team play, along with their physical and mental tenacity in the lead roles, is ideal for Beckett’s piercing insight, commentary, and comedy.

Marty Rea (Vladimir) and Aaron Monaghan (Estragon) in “Waiting for Godot”

Meanwhile, Rory Nolan (Pozzo) and Garrett Lombard (Lucky) add formidable presence and impact, even though they have far less time on stage. Mr. Nolan is perfect as the larger-than-life Pozzo who wields words the same way he cracks his whip: crisply and with measured cruelty. Mr. Lombard, who at first seems no more than a mute lump on stage, startles and then wildly impresses with his more than 700-word soliloquy that sounds like “Jabberwocky” on steroids. In fact, both characters seem like they could have been pulled out of a Lewis Carroll story with a pinch of Shakespeare tossed in.

This is a top-tier production by a world-class troupe in the hands of a sharp-eyed director. Buy a ticket, leave your expectations at home, and settle in to discover what these two “homeless” guys are really (not) waiting for.

* Godot is pronounced GA-doe (stress on first syllable), not ga-DOE.


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It is with life as it is with art: the deeper one penetrates, the broader the view.                   
~ Johann Goethe