BWW Review: WAITING FORGODOT at Counter-Productions Theatre Company: A Rare gem in a Black Box
Counter-Productions Theatre Company begins its 2017/2018 season with Samuel Beckett's absurdist masterpiece, WAITING FOR GODOT at AS220's Black Box Theatre on Empire St. in Providence. The New York Times has called this the greatest play of the Twentieth Century. It has attracted talents from Bert Lahr to Steve Marin and Robin Williams to John Turturro to take it on. I had never seen this play, was somewhat afraid of it, and am now glad I have. Sometimes it's tedious (I think that's deliberate and blame Beckett), but sometimes it's hilarious and sometimes very touching. Here we all are, trapped between life and death.
In an extremely intimate space and in two-and-a-half hours (including intermission), this bare bones production of a bare-bones play tells the story of two world-weary men, Vladimir (Dan Fisher) and Estragon (Geoff Leatham), as they linger on a barren roadside, awaiting the arrival of the mysterious Godot. It's not clear why they wait for him or how long they have waited already. They'd rather not be there. They want to move on. Still they wait. And wait. As a counterpoint to them Pozzo (Steven Zailskas) and Lucky (Stevie Smith) seemed condemned to a life of constant movement without getting anywhere.
Says Director Valerie Remillard, "When I first read Waiting for Godot for a college Intro to Theater class a couple of decades ago "it made no sense to me. There was no traditional story line to this piece. I rejected it instantly. It made me mad. I couldn't stop thinking about it." What Remillard has since discovered in GODOT is the "deep, universal humanity of the characters. The familiar inertia of two people who crave change so desperately but who are too stymied to achieve it. The diligent effort and toll of maintaining hope in an environment in which you feel, that you are out of control of your circumstances."
GODOT catalogues the many methods from argument to yoga that humans have tried, attempting to fill the void. What we rally have here is Laurel and Hardy somehow stuck on Cormack McCarthy's The Road. Fisher and Leatham are very good at the little games that Didi and Gogo play to pass the time and struggle against the overwhelming tedium and pain. In a way, the audience is indicted by the characters attempts to find amusements-I mean, what else re we doing there? On a personal note, I was deeply offended that harshest insult Gogo could hurl at Didi was to call him a "critic."
Counter-Productions Theatre Company's production WATING FOR GODOT by Samuel Becket runs at AS220's Black Box Theatre at 95 Empire St., in Providence October 27th, 28th at 7:00pm and 29th at 2:00 P.M. Tickets are $20.00. The box office can be reached at www.cptcri.com or (401) 419-2205. The theater is accessible (a one inch step up into the theater from the street) with accessible bathrooms. You got twenty bucks? Go see it.