Still I wait
Samuel Beckett's play "Waiting For Godot" (1955*) is an important part of the history of theatre. Almost nothing happens in it. Two characters, Estragon and Vladimir, spend two nights waiting by a tree for the mysterious Godot. They meet three others - a boy, a bloke named Pozzo and his slave Lucky - and they talk. And yet the absurd dialogue - with its seeming aimlessness; its digressions, misunderstandings and repetition; its nonsense within sense within nonsense - somehow holds the audience's interest. Perhaps because it allows them to project so many different meanings onto what's being said.
My first encounter with "W/F/G" came in junior high, when my older cousin TH joked, "Godot is coming." He probably doesn't even remember it now, but I tended to idolise the dude, so I do. Of course, I had no idea what he was referring to, but I laughed and pretended that I did. I may even have repeated the line in a bid to impress an equally bewildered friend. See - I was a pretentious little shit then, too :-)
I didn't get around to actually reading the thing until my undergraduate days. There was a copy in the house that was either purchased by me for an English lecture I never attended or used by my sister AC in a drama elective. I picked it up on a whim and found "Gogo" and "Didi" bizarre, Pozzo and Lucky sinister, and all of them tragic and frustrating. But mostly I wished I'd been aware of the passage where the main duo discuss hanging themselves from the tree (touching on auto-erotic asphyxiation and the mandrake root legend) before I'd written a throwaway piece for the student paper about the use of the noose. See - I was, etc.
Now I have a ticket to a performance of the play at the Opera House in June. This production stars Gand...Sir Ian McKellen and is reportedly very funny. Funnily enough, the humour is something that came through a lot more when I revisited "W/F/G" recently, despite the number of amusing sequences - such as the hat-swapping - which are only described in the stage directions. I'm eager to see the whole thing interpreted by proper thesps rather than the shadowy amateurs in my mind. Can you feel my anticipation? Godot is coming!
* Beckett's English translation of his original French text.