“What do we do, now that we are happy?”
“Wait for Godot. Things have changed here since yesterday.”
“And if he doesn’t come?”
“We’ll see when the time comes. I was saying that things have changed here since yesterday.”
“Look at the tree.”
“It’s never the same pus from one moment to the next.”
Waiting for Godot, Act II
Last month, The Abbey had the pleasure to welcome the protagonists of Beckett’s iconic play “Waiting for Godot” which showed at Malvern Theatres, Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. Since Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot played for the first time some 50 years ago, it has shocked as well as delighted the public with it’s absurd dialogues, and it’s minimalist setting.
The play consists of two tramps, a naked tree, a mound or two of earth and a sky. The two characters are clowning around, joking and arguing, repeating themselves, as they wait for the mysterious Godot. But Godot never shows leaving philosophical Vladimir (Stewart) and dozy Estragon (McKellan) to pass the time and avoid loneliness at all costs. They bicker, embrace, contemplate suicide and swap hats, look up at the sky and anticipate nightfall, but it is impossible to say what Waiting for Godot is about.
“Waiting for Godot” is an absurd tale written in a heartless modern tone. There are moments that leave you pondering religion, companionship, human nature and happiness, not to mention the meaning of life. Then again it is also nonsense. The play has a strange power to convey the impression of some melancholy truths about the hopeless destiny of the human race. Perhaps that is why it is so puzzling and convincing at the same time.
Theatregoers can rail at it, but they cannot ignore it for Samuel Beckett success is to draw out an individual response; the themes are universal, but your reaction is wholly personal. Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are both renowned Shakespearean actors who have worked together on numerous projects on stage as well as on screen, most recently in the X-Men film trilogy, as Magneto and Professor X. Both of them have established their own iconic screen persona, as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings and as Star Trek’s Jean-Luc Picard.
Submitted by Gennaro de Borbon, Revenue Manager at The Abbey