Beckett’s most renowned play comes to Victoria
“We’re waiting for Godot!” shouts exasperated Gogo, one of the two washed-out vagrants who stars in the Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre’s production of Waiting for Godot. Or maybe it was Didi, the play’s other long-faced protagonist. Throughout the production, these two disgruntled and forgetful characters switch roles; even their names and attributes shift. Confusion is in fact a theme found throughout Samuel Beckett’s play.
The drama is set in an unknown place and time. Though characters wear bowler hats and vests to signify 1920s clothing, the attire is also similar to A Clockwork Orange’s future, with the character of Pozzo wearing a white jumpsuit complete with metallic orange sparkles. The audience does realize that the location is a wasteland, manifested by the simple use of a car tire and dead tree. The Blue Bridge’s oval ,bunker-like building, once the Roxy Theatre, adds to the play’s surrealist feel.
Uncertainty features in the play’s premise—Didi and Gogo are waiting for a man named Godot, but are unsure when he is coming, where to meet him, what he looks like, and why they are to rendezvous with him. Therefore, the play consists of a lot of waiting around. But who knew that characters resting could be so fun for an audience?
Peter Anderson and Brian Linds are reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton with their renditions of Gogo and Didi. Slapstick hat swapping and lewd jokes are a way for the characters to pass the time together. When the two remain silent on other occasions, Didi and Gogo’s well-worn faces and the continual arch in their eyebrows express plenty to the audience. When the company of Pozzo and Lucky arrive, Didi and Gogo’s quiet reflection becomes boisterous.
The audience once again clues in that this is not a normal world, as Pozzo treats Lucky as a mule, forcing the poor man to carry all his luggage and to never rest. Again, there is no explanation of who Pozzo and Lucky are or where they are travelling to, even when Didi and Gogo question them. It is as though each figure is speaking their own language: no one listens to each other, resulting in comedic awkwardness for the audience.
After Godot does not show up the first day, Gogo and Didi return to the same location. However, everything is slightly off in the second act; the dead tree now has green leaves and Pozzo appears again, but this time he is blind. Gogo and Didi’s memory cannot be trusted, but even the audience wonders why this occurrence is different. Perhaps the characters are in a continuous limbo or maybe the first scene was simply a dream. Answers are never revealed in the end of Waiting for Godot, but the audience is still left satisfied knowing that Gogo and Didi will leave the stage—only to come back the next day.
Waiting for Godot runs until March 15 at the Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre at 2657 Quadra Street. $20 student tickets are available at the door.