Waiting For Godot – Druid Lane Theatre – Review
This is possibly Beckett’s best known and loved work. The tale of two down and outs, Vladimir and Estragon waiting for the mysterious figure Godot was written by Beckett in 1949 and first performed on 5 January 1953 in the Théâtre de Babylone, Paris. This new production by Druid was part of the Galway Arts Festival which finished last weekend but the production continues until July 30th nationwide.
I must admit to being slightly underwhelmed by the idea of this production. The cast were all fairly predictable and while it is certainly a great play, there have been so many productions over the years it is difficult to bring something new to the table. The thing that really impresses about this production is the quality of the cast and the simplicity and style of the design. The wonderful setting of the Mick Lally Theatre certainly helped; the small theatre allowing the audience to see the whites of the actor’s eyes, especially so with the blind Pozzo (Nolan).
Marty Rea continues to test himself with complex roles and the results over recent years have been impressive. He plays Didi as an open and honest individual, somewhat bemused as the only one who seems to notice their predicament. The physical disparity between himself and Aaron Monaghan as Gogo is emphasised in a number of scenes. Rory Nolan is quite remarkable as Pozzo. He arrives on stage with an explosion of energy. His ebullient nature and captivating personality radiate through the first section of the play. It serves to contrast the meek version we encounter in the second act, robbed of his confidence and his sight.
The set has the feel of a precipice as there is a small gap at ground level before the back wall. The floor of the set is like a dried river bed. The usual two items adorn the stage, with a large smooth stone on one side and the carcass of a tree on the other, stripped of its innards. The only prop that doesn’t hold with the rest of the stylish production is the moon that wobbles as it emerges from the wings. The lighting is equally as impressive with use of uplighting to create a variety of moods.
The pace of the play is what really defines this production, with space given to the words allowing them to resonate. It is over two and a half hours (including the interval) and the sadness of the protagonists is palpable towards the end. As the moon rises the characters seem sapped of their energy and say the lines like in a trance, without hint of emotion. It’s a gripping piece of theatre and one that attempts to give reason to their plight, moving you one step closer to the cold of the grave.
Céide Fields 28th July, Wicklow 30th July
Cast – Garrett Lombard, Aaron Monaghan, Rory Nolan and Marty Rea
Garry Hynes – Director
Francis O’Connor – Designer
Jim F. Ingalls – Lighting Designer
Greg Clarke – Sound Designer
Nick Winston – Movement