"Waiting for Godot" at Lincoln Center: The Unconventional Classic Lives On

Photo by Richard Termine

Perhaps the most exciting event in this year’s White Light Festival at Lincoln Center was the transfer of the Druid Theatre’s production of Samuel Beckett’s legendary play, Waiting for Godot, which I attended at the Gerald Lynch Theater on the afternoon of Sunday, November 4th.
This staging was directed by Garry Hynes—whose previous work includes an exceedingly fine version of Sean O’Casey’s wonderful The Silver Tassie for the Lincoln Center Festival in 2011—with sets and costumes effectively designed by Francis O’Connor and lighting by James F. Ingalls. Where the current production departs from the letter of Beckett’s original, it consistently seems faithful to the author’s intentions. This fact, however, may be thought to constrain the possibilities of creating a theatrical experience which fulfills the potential of the medium since its possibilities as spectacle are scarcely indulged, in conformity to Beckett’s restrictive minimalism—one wonders what Robert Wilson might have done with such a commission. This approach has the consequence of focusing attention on the exceptional literary quality of the text and the remarkable skills of the actors employed. This version also presents a strong case for the fundamental Irishness of this play which was composed in French and premiered in Paris and is especially impressive for conveying the comic dimension of the piece in all its glory.
Marty Rea as Vladimir brilliantly etched the self-dramatizations of his character while Aaron Monaghan as Estragon struck an authentic, appropriately contrasting note by generally eschewing irony. Rory Nolan captured the hammy theatricality of Pozzo and Garrett Lombard, who fittingly resembles Stan Laurel, was a mesmerizing Lucky. The beautiful Jaden Pace was memorable as the Boy.
Waiting for Godot runs through November 13th and is an important recreation of a classic play.