27 February 2007

Wait for me

Stripped to the basics
FLC's 'Waiting for Godot' has few decorative elements
By Richard Malcolm Durango Herald

Two men, Vladimir and Estragon, arrive on a stage that is bare but for a rock and a windblown tree, where they wait, wait, and wait some more, for someone named Godot, who never arrives. A New York Times reviewer in 1956 called Samuel Beckett's play "Waiting for Godot" "a mystery wrapped in an enigma."

But don't let the play's 'difficult' reputation put you off, said visiting Beckett scholar Professor Enoch Brader from the University of Michigan, speaking to a packed house at the Fort Lewis College theatre department on Friday night.
Brater spoke before the college's production of "Godot," a play Beckett wrote in French in the late 1940s and translated into English in 1954.
Brater called the play "the most important of the second half of the twentieth century." That's an impressive claim for a play in which almost nothing happens, but there is craft and method to Beckett's absurdity. Writing in the aftermath of World War II, Beckett conjured up a barren stage world in which all the old certainties and beliefs have been demolished, but people still hope, searching for meaning and, perhaps, salvation.

In doing so, Beckett ushered in a new genre of theatre in which complex plots, recognizable characters, and realistic sets were abandoned for a theatre that was stripped to the basics.
Brater described the play as "a compelling dramatic situation with the fewest possible dramatic elements."
Head of Theatre at FLC and director of "Godot," Kathryn Moller, added that she sees in the play "a human drama pared down to its most necessary emotions: expectation, companionship, and hope."
Richard Malcolm is a freelance writer in Durango.

If you go:

"Waiting for Godot" - by Samuel Beckett, plays at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday; $11/$9 staff and seniors/$5 students and children, in the Fort Lewis College Theatre building. It is performed by students Miles Batchelder, Geoff Johnson, Matthew Mount, Josh Becker and Tony Rocco. Set design is by Nathan K. Lee, and lighting design is by Kurt Lancaster.

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