Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

Apparently in his later years, occupied with ever-more minimalist statements of his preoccupations, Beckett regarded Godot as far too long and verbose. It is certainly in quite a different key to dramaticules like Catastrophe and Come and Go, but that very sense of space and elasticity allows it to trace the currents of human companionship in ways the stricter later work cannot. Miracle Theatre, a company specialising in outdoor productions in the summer, did justice to this marvellous piece in a production which hit both the comic and tragic keys at the right moment. Steve Jacobs and Angus Brown played off each other as Estragon and Vladimir, and Ben Dyson was a remarkable Pozzo, whose voice had something of Minder about it. Ciaran Clarke was Lucky, delivering the famous monologue with a tentative air, as if this was indeed the last 'thinking' he would ever do. The raised area - presumably for touring purposes - brought out the isolation of this Everyman pair, and the beautiful poetry towards the end did its work even on an audience more geared, it seemed, for laughter than tears. It was good that during the production money was raised for a worthy cause, but I can't approve of a great work like this being interrupted by a half-hour interval with a raffle (I saw it at the Theatre Roytal, Winchester). What is the play about? By the day I grow more antagonistic towards academic interpretation, which is often simply a way of pulling something strange into something more familiar. And I cite Beckett as my witness: 'As for wanting to find in all that a broader, loftier meaning to carry away from the performance, along with the program and the Eskimo pie, I cannot see the point of it. But it must be possible ...' (Eskimo pie??)