Volume 94, Issue 77
Thursday, February 8, 2001
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Godot well worth the wait
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? the caset of Waiting for Godot ponder life in this inspired production, playing tonight through Feb.11 at the Talbot Theatre.
Waiting for Godot
Starring: Jeff Glickman, Sean Lahane, John Turner, Emmi Driedger, Sarah Levine
Directed By: Jeff Glickman
By Ben Freedman
When playwright Samual Beckett's Waiting for Godot was originally produced in 1956, Brooks Atkinson wrote in his review for The New York Times that the play "is a mystery wrapped in an enigma."
Director Jeff Glickman's daring rendition successfully juxtaposes the potent theology and ideology of the original script with a 21st Century perspective. His unique style and creativity touches every scene, making this masterpiece a medium for both existentialist philosophy and fantastic visual and auditory stimulation.
Beckett's tendency to reduce reality to paradoxical situations carries an intrinsic beauty. As one delves into the infinite subtleties, however, it becomes apparent that he explores a broad spectrum of interconnected ideas, such as the nature of capitalist wealth, divine apathy, the importance of death and timelessness.
The play concerns four clownishly gaudy characters, a young boy who acts as a messenger for Godot, a naked tree and implied stretches of barren land. Two of the characters, Vladimir (Glickman, standing in for Mark Tovey) and Estragon (Sean Lehane) are waiting for the mysterious Godot, who symbolizes God.
Their lives are without meaning and so they wait longingly for Godot to provide answers. While waiting, they encounter the lord of the land Pozzo (John Turner) and his broken slave, Lucky (Emmi Driedger), who spends his time whimpering on a leash.
The play's tone is highly tactile and exquisitely presented. Successfully performing such a challenging play requires both strong actors and a director who genuinely understands Beckett's work. Lehane plays Estragon with undertones of sadness, adding an insightful twist to an otherwise comical character.
Glickman doesn't back down with his passionate performance of Vladimir, ending the first act with a moving monologue expressing his own disillusionment. John Turner switches from laughter to tears in seconds and leaves the audience wondering about the reality of emotion, a theme that would otherwise have remained undeveloped.
The only apparent weakness becomes clear at the end of the play when one realizes the level of energy on stage increases as the play progresses. It is unclear whether or not this was intended, however, it makes second act much stronger then the first act.
The multi-talented Glickman takes the piece a step beyond successful, qualifying it as nothing short of awe-inspiring. Glickman enlisted the help of digital scene artist Jason Krauskopf, video scene artist Mark Stebbins and cartoonist Jim McGinley to capture the chaotic and distorted mental landscapes in which the characters exist, exaggerating the importance of certain themes and lending the play a modern feel.
As if the eye candy provided by these three artists wasn't enough, Glickman also commissioned electronic artist John Ramirez to create the soundtrack, a veritable mix of hardcore trance, grunge and break beats, providing a modern feel.
The technological creativity, paired with an unparalleled script, makes Waiting for Godot much less a play than a multi-flavoured experience. While in their seats, audience members will be frozen in the moment, they will certainly leave affected.
Waiting for Godot is bound to be considered one of Western's ultimate performances.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000