Theatre Review: A Godot Worth Waiting For
WAITING FOR GODOT by Samuel Beckett is a difficult work to direct and act. Directors, actors and staff must immerse themselves in the language and dramaturgy of Beckett’s world. The production at Quintessence Theatre Group under the direction of veteran director Ken Marini strikes the right chord from beginning to end.
I have directed GODOT once and have taught it for many years. This was a production I would have loved to have had to show to students for them to better understand the play. I have been a fan of Mr. Marini’s work for years. He continually chooses weighty classics and makes them accessible to audiences throughout the area.
He would probably be the first to admit that he cheats. He casts the very best actors and engages them in a collaborative experience that brings the best out of the playwright’s words. Leading the cast are veteran performers Johnnie Hobbs, Jr. and Frank X. As Vladimir and Estragon, they handle the absurdist and symbolic language from Beckett’s script and make it a clear and coherent statement. Instead of affecting any kind of “classical” accent, the actors make the words conversational, the pauses sensible, and the actions meaningful. They establish the relationship that exists between these two characters.
Pozzo (Gregory Isaac) and Lucky (J. Hernandez) interject themselves in each day as part of the things that distract us from the ennui of waiting. Isaac captures in both language and gesture the dismissiveness of the upper classes and the Hernandez, whose role is mostly symbolic movement, expertly delivers the stream of consciousness monologue that indicates that his character can think. His pacing and timely use of pauses makes a speech that often seems nonsensical much, much clearer. As the young boy who delivers Mr. Godot’s regrets, Lyam David-Kilker belies his young years as he interacts with this very experienced cast.
James F. Pyne, Jr.’s striking set and John Burkland’s nuanced lighting contribute to the wasteland upon which the waiting takes place. The actors take great advantage of the space to draw the audience into their world. Jane Casanave’s costumes are subtle, but very much a contribution to the overall spirit of the play.
WAITING FOR GODOT is a play best seen with someone else. The level of discussion and thought that usually follows is both enriching and rewarding.
Waiting for Godot runs until February 18th.
QUINTESSENCE THEATRE IN RESIDENCE AT THE SEDGWICK THEATER
7137 GERMANTOWN AVE (MT AIRY), PHILADELPHIA, PA 19119
For tickets visit www.QTGrep.org.
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