Gainesville Theatre Alliance's WAITING FOR GODOT Opens Friday
According to a 2017 Timex survey, people spend a cumulative average of six months of their lives waiting in line and an average of 27 cumulative days waiting for a bus or train. Time is seen as immensely valuable to individuals in our culture, yet tends to be dependent on others. Searching for ways to fill our time with meaningful and necessary tasks, there tends to be a nearly constant state of waiting for the next task, waiting to get from one place to another, waiting for things to be right. The Gainesville Theatre Alliance production of Waiting for Godot, which opens Nov. 9, challenges the connections of people, time, and the meaning of life itself.
In Waiting for Godot, GTA's first Discovery Series production of the 2018-2019 season, we see Vladimir and Estragon, two men waiting for help from a man named Godot, all the while pondering the rules and expectations of their world and their place in it. Waiting for Godot, written by Samuel Beckett, will perform November 9-12 at 7:30 in the Ed Cabell Theatre, located on the University of North Georgia's Gainesville campus, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood Ga. This show is rated PG-13 for mature themes.
Following these two jovial "tramps" on their journey to a place unknown, Waiting for Godot is a classic story, where nothing happens and nothing is certain. Exploring the livelihood that can be brought to the mundane tasks of life, this show takes the physical embodiment of the actor and draws out comedy with vaudevillian and traditional euro-clown technique. The Chicago Tribune defines this approach as fostering "deeper amusements based in human truth," and director Zechariah Pierce furthers this with his hope that the audience will "wait with the characters as opposed to watching them wait."
This production runs as part of the Discovery Series of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance- the nationally acclaimed collaboration between the University of North Georgia, Brenau University, theatre professionals, and the northeast Georgia community. Featuring student designers and unique, often contemporary scripts, GTA's Discovery Series productions offers a different, often more experimental experience to both patrons and developing artists.
University of North Georgia Theatre Professor, GTA alumnus, and industry professional Zechariah Pierce joins the Discovery Series team as director for Waiting for Godot. Pierce has a unique background in clown work and physical comedy, accompanied by an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University. Pierce is focusing on the main characters' whimsical humanity as the necessary element to making this show interesting and alive, defining the need to "find the game in moments of quiet, boredom or cyclical waiting."
This classic work is supplemented by an air of minimalism, encouraging the focus of the production to the on the work rather than the spectacle. Underlining this, scenic designer Celeste Morris chimed in pointing to the importance of the "atmosphere" created by the design elements of this show rather than a "set." Morris noted that the setting leans more towards minimal "because the story lives in the minds, bodies, hearts, and relationships of the characters," further explaining that an overly involved scenic design could "cheapen the universality of the story."
In Pierce's view, this production is sort of a balancing act, taking the dull and uninteresting aspects of life, putting them onstage and making them exciting and accessible to the audience. It seems a bit odd that this classical work has made it to such a high status, considering its reputation as "a play about nothing." When asked about his motivation to bring this piece of theatre to the GTA stage, Pierce discussed the "life that is brought to the unintelligible or meaningless" through the clown characters in this show, which has been coined "the quintessential clown piece."
Using the techniques he teaches in his movement courses to help students specialize in the art of clown and physical acting, Pierce challenges the actors to "make silence and stillness come alive" within the world of the characters.
"In a world where waiting means escaping to a small electronic device, we have lost the ability to connect on a deeper level with the world around us," Pierce explains. "So much so, that perhaps we live in a much less intelligible culture than this play presents. This is what I'm hoping to explore."
Bringing together intelligence, human connection, and everyday life, this show creates an extraordinary introspection of the way our culture is defined.
Waiting for Godot will be performed at 7:30pm, Nov. 9-12, at the Ed Cabell Theatre at the University of North Georgia Campus, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood, Ga 30566. Performances are free of charge, with general admission seating on a first-come-first-seated basis. Patrons can get vouchers beginning at 6:30pm the night of each performance to guarantee their seats: the theatre doors will open at approximately 7:10pm.. Other productions GTA can be explored at www.gainesvilleTHEATREalliance.org, and questions can be directed to the Box Office with questions at 678.717,3624, Monday - Friday from 10 am to 4 pm.