Waiting for Godot
Reviewed by Lovell Estell III
The Open Circle Theatre Company at The Other Space
Through April 16
And the wait continues with this engaging production of Samuel Beckett’s absurdist classic from the Open Circle Theater Company and director Daniel Wilner. Staging Beckett effectively is never an easy task, and this play has confounded many directors and actors who failed to minimize its inherently dry and tedious aspects. Here, Wilner has done so with a few pleasant directorial tweaks which accent the play’s comedic elements, while maintaining the author’s sobering vision.
Vladimir and Estragon, the two shabbily attired tramps who are trapped in a meaningless vigil of waiting and hoping for the appearance of the enigmatic Godot, are here played by Tommy Day Carey and Douglas Scott Sorenson, both of whom have a knack for physical comedy and a flair for the theatrical. The desolate landscape where their “waiting” is played out is evoked by Liam Moore’s bare floor with a rock at its center and a dead tree nestled in a corner, with the audience, in close proximity, surrounding the space on four sides.
On balance, the environmental staging is effective, but there are times when it is difficult to see (depending on where you are sitting in this squared arrangement) what is taking place. This is especially true in Act I, when the tramps’ unendurable ritual is interrupted by the sudden clamorous appearance of Pozzo (a superior performance by Joseph Culliton) and his bent-over, abused man-slave Lucky (Perry Powell), who has a long rope attached to his neck. There are also a few instances where the actors disappear offstage, which is more of a distraction than anything else.
Ginevra Lombardo’s lighting schema is simple, evocative and highly effective. Wilner has rolled the dice with this spirited production, and despite the glitches, has come out a winner. Rounding out the cast is Nick Brody as the boy messenger. Waiting for Godot has been talked about and analyzed for nearly seventy years in search of its meaning. The author said it was just a story. Perhaps we are best served by keeping that in mind. It’s been said time and again that Beckett is an acquired taste; for those seeking to christen their theatrical palate, this show would be a suitable place to start.
The Other Space at the Actor’s Company, 916A Formosa Avenue., Hollywood; Thur.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 & 7 p.m. http://godotla.bpt.me or (888) 693-8507. Running time: two hours and 15 minutes with an intermission.