Waiting For Godot – Abbey Theatre – Review by Conor O’Carroll
Until Saturday, 20 May 2017
Photography by Matthew Thompson
This is the Druid production of Waiting for Godot that started life in the Galway International Arts Festival last year. The play is a dynamic interpretation of the Beckett classic.
It is a play that takes place on a barren landscape with a tree. The set is very simple with few props, a tree and an oval rock. The ground is cracked and brown while the sky is in permanent cloud. The stage was altered for the Dublin production from the Druid Lane set, with a luminous white frame around the outside and a slight slope to the stage. The white frame presents the production as a moving painting and provides a clear division between actors and audience. The barren landscape of the play is made beautiful through the excellent lighting (James F. Ingalls). The change from the grey of the day to the violet of twilight is really striking. This gives the audience a real sense of passing time as the day moves from morning to twilight and then to night.
The play opens with two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, waiting in a designated spot for a person called Godot. Indeed, Estragon is already on stage sitting on the rock when the audience takes their seats; it is as if one is entering another world. We get a sense that our heroes were not always down and out, as they talk about the good old days in Paris. They talk of life and death, even contemplating suicide by hanging from the tree.
One is lulled into a false sense of security with their conversation when the two other characters, Pozzo and Lucky, burst onto the stage. Pozzo is pompous and imperious with Lucky on a rope carrying his baggage as if he were a pack animal. After this intermission, our odd pair of tramps continue to wait.
Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo) are played superbly by Marty Rea and Aaron Monaghan. In contrast to many renditions they are highly active and move frequently around the stage. Rory Nolan as Pozzo won the Irish Times Theatre Award for best supporting actor and really embraces the flamboyant edge of the character. Lucky is played by Garrett Lombard.
This is on one level a very simple story and yet it is highly complex and thought provoking. However, it is really to be enjoyed, especially in the first act, for the constant thread of humour running through it. Even the bizarre scene with Pozzo and Lucky is never allowed to get too serious. There are hints of Beckett’s focus on obsessive compulsive behaviour with Didi and Gogo wearing and exchanging three hats, as in the stones for Molloy and the Dogs for Watt.
This is an outstanding production from all aspects. Our two down and outs bring their own physicality and energy to the play with Pozzo and Lucky being totally outrageous. It is to be enjoyed for what it is and indeed despite what many say, lots does happen.
Garrett Lombard – Cast
Aaron Monaghan – Cast
Rory Nolan – Cast
Marty Rea – Cast
Nick Winston – Movement
Greg Clarke – Sound Design
James F. Ingalls – Lighting Design
Francis O’Connor – Designer
Garry Hynes – Director