Programming / Play
The Most Difficult Plays n°11 : Waiting for Godot.
Who has never heard of this play? It’s the cult play of “modern” dramaturgy, the one that turns tables upside down, upsets codes, is absolutely overwhelming and modern and incredible and everything.
First of all, like any good French citizen concerned about access to culture, I saw the play.
I didn’t hate it. I didn’t like it either. I didn’t feel anything at all. It made the same impression on me as in Bernard Shaw’s “Dear Liar“: absolutely nothing at all.
That must have been when I realized that I was impervious to great culture. I went to see The Bald Soprano at the theatre of La Huchette in Paris to test that – and still no particular feeling animated me. Fortunately, I really like the Latin Quarter, which had saved my evening.
As a result, when I read Waiting for Godot, I was expecting a long, long sequence in a flat calm, without any wind or feeling.
And then there’s the surprise: it’s an incredible piece in fact.
With a dark humor to take off your hat, of stupor! A whole bunch of morons appear on stage, and should jump at you.
Between the one, stupid as hell, who can’t put his shoe back on, the other one who is waiting, the third one who lets himself be martyred by sticking out his tongue and loving his master, and the Godot who won’t come –
So why have I never seen a single “Godot” worthy of this text?
Why this abomination of slowness?
These sets which are pitiful?
These actors who declaim their text as if they were the words of God, when they are the words of morons?
Those dark lights that put an entire room to sleep?
This work – terrible when you fall asleep – on the silences… but please, love this text!
Give it what it carries: life, wickedness, joy!
So it’s true, we don’t know who we’re waiting for, or who Godot is, and we can tell ourselves that it’s a metaphor for our life. Godot would be, by choice: God, our death, the meaning of our life that never comes – necessarily.
But seriously guys? Are you waiting for death like that?
You don’t think about living in the middle of it? Laughing, joking, being an idiot? Haven’t you read this text?
Where did you see that it’s about being petrified because there was a guy who was smarter than you once wrote a play?
Hence the conclusion that this is one of the most difficult pieces in the repertoire, because it has been so badly performed by so many companies, that it has been petrified in the adoration of the so famous: Who am I, where am I going, where am I running? and that the answer is in the form of a rectangular hole – .
Fortunately for everyone, time has passed and I dare to hope that it will finally be possible to find directors who will not feel embarrassed by the weight of such imbecility. Then they will be able to read the text, find its comic, its rhythm, its life, its strength and its laughter, because this play is funny.
And on that day, they will have given life and soul back to a very great play.
Featured Image : from Arsenic and old lace – Eastman Museum – Cary Grant – absolutely wonderful when he was playing the charming dumb. Becket needs actors who can laugh – there are some, and they’re the best too. They will find the terrible humor of Godot.