Monday, 15 February 2010

Waiting for Godot

What do you make of the play?  If you don't know it and want a short summary try here or here for a longer one with lots of speculation on meaning!  My eldest daughter and her husband took me to see the one shown above as a present - for which I would like to thank them again!  I first saw it 30 years ago at the Cambridge Arts Theatre, and if memory serves me correctly (cos in this case Google doesn't!) Vladimir and Estragon were played by Max Wall and Bryan Pringle.

A number of different things came to mind about this - one was the different impact that the two versions had on me.   My recollection is that I found the older one better.  However, I am aware of revisiting a film I thought was brilliant at the same time and finding it less so second time around (and of course in that case the second opinion was right!).  I think that it had something to do with the fact that when I went to see the film it was because a group of us decided to go to the pics, and had no expectation of it, whereas the second time I had my memory of it being a good film.  With Godot first time around I was warned that it was awful (by someone who had studied it at A level) so again I went with lowered expectations, whereas on revisiting it I went with much higher expectations.  Funny how expectations can affect the experience!

In this version I was disappointed with Roger Rees, but was interested to discover that one of the reviews of the earlier version with Patrick Stewart made similar comments to those I would have made about Roger Rees - so perhaps it was a conscious decision by the director.

The wiki link earlier contains a mass of interpretation, but in the spirit of Post Modernism and "there is nothing outside the text" - subject of a previous post - what did we make of it?  We wondered whether the two halves were two consecutive days, one day replayed twice, or two days some time apart - without reaching a conclusion - but all of which give different interpretations to the meaning.  Then there was the despair of the waiting - Vladimir and Estragon could do nothing because they were waiting for Godot - what is it that I am waiting for that stops me doing things?  I found that for me it painted a bleak picture of humanity, one of meaninglessness.  Or perhaps I should say a bleak picture of meaninglessness, for although Vladimir and Estragon found their meaning in waiting for Godot it seemed a very negative purpose.

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