For those interested in strange, cerebral theater, it’s a delicious treat to see any play by Samuel Beckett performed. When the chance to see his masterpiece Waiting for Godot comes around every so often, it’s an opportunity not to be missed. Although Beckett wrote Godot over 60 years ago, it remains a deeply affecting experience today. It is possibly one of the most talked about, and widely interpreted, works of Absurdist Theater of our time. Critics and enthusiasts of the play have picked out themes of Freudian psychology, Jungian archetypes, existential philosophy, and Christian allegory—and all that in just about two hours of running time. With a deceptively minimalist approach to character and setting, this is actually quite a big play.
Beckett’s work has no shortage of devoted fans, but even some of his most ardent admirers might not know a few charmingly obscure facts about the iconic Godot. For instance, Beckett asked his good friend, the famed sculptor Alberto Giacometti, to create the set design for the Paris production of the work in 1961. The one lonely tree Giacometti sculpted and planted onstage served as the entire set, and the symbol of that tree can still be found on the cover of many paperback copies of the play. Also, when Beckett was asked who or what “Godot” stood for, his most common answer was that he took it from the slang word for boot in French, godillot. Needless to say, this isn’t the answer most people were looking for.
If you live in the Bay Area, you can luckily take advantage of the current performance of Waiting for Godot running at The Tides Theater. Directed by Jennifer Welch with Assistant Director Cary Cronholm Rose, Godot is running from January 20 – February 18, 2012, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8:00pm. It can be seen at the Royce Gallery, an authentic San Francisco Mission District warehouse located at 2901 Mariposa Street in San Francisco. As an added bonus, tickets are currently half off the admission price on Goldstar. Click here for details.