Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin in 1906. He was educated at Portora Royal School and Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated in 1927. His made his poetry debut in 1930 with Whoroscope and followed it with essays and two novels before World War Two. He wrote one of his most famous plays, Waiting for Godot, in 1949 but it wasn't published in English until 1954. Waiting for Godot brought Beckett international fame and firmly established him as a leading figure in the Theatre of the Absurd. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. Beckett continued to write prolifically for radio, TV and the theatre until his death in 1989.
"Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful!". That phrase, said by one of the main characters of "Waiting for Godot", somehow sums up the whole plot of this short tragicomedy in two acts. Strange??. You can bet on that!!!. So much that a well-known Irish critic said of it "nothing happens, twice". The play starts with two men, Vladimir and Estragon, sitting on a lonely road. They are both waiting for Godot. They don't know why they are waiting for him, but they think that his arrival will change things for the better. The problem is that he doesn't come, although a kid does so and says Godot will eventually arrive. Pozzo and his servant Lucky, two other characters that pass by while our protagonists are waiting for Godot, add another bizarre touch to an already surreal story, in which nothing seems to happen and discussions between the characters don't make much sense. However, maybe that is exactly the point that Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) wanted to make. He was one of the most accomplished exponents of the "Theatre of the Absurd", that wanted to highlight the lack of purpose and meaning in an universe without God. Does Godot, the person that Vladimir and Estragon endlessly wait, symbolize God?. According to an irascible Beckett, when hard-pressed to answer that question, "If I knew who Godot was, I would have said so in the play." So, we don't know. The result is a highly unusual play that poses many questions, but doesn't answer them. Ripe with symbolism, "Waiting for Godot" is a play more or less open to different interpretations. Why more or less open?. Well, because in order to have an interpretation of your own, you have to finish the play, and that is something that not all readers can do.Read more ›
As a huge fan of Ibsen's 'A Doll's House', I thought no play could ever surpass it. 'Engame' was alright but rather dull and at times pointlessly depressing but 'Waiting for Godot', in a word; amazing! I won't explain the plot, it serves no purpose as other reviewers have kindly done that. The central character of the play is Godot, which is ironic seeing as he is totally absent from the action (oh another point, there is no action). Yet, it is this absence, this sepulchre which haunts the minimalist discourse of the characters which is so appealing. Beckett is a master of audience bewilderment. What exactly is the context of this play? Like Endgame, the context, or setting, is undoubtedly of a dystopian variety. I get a very chilling sense that there is also a warning to the hazards of war etc in the claustrophobic and sparsely populated setting of this play. Like Engame, there is a sense of the 'aftermath' of some fatal catastrophe (think 'Oryx and Crake without the Crakers). We know that Beckett is hailed as a great figure within the 'absurdist theatre' - that is to say that many of his works explore the futility of existence and the fragile and desperate nature of humanity and as such many of the interpretations which we impose on the play will stem from this. Obviously, 'Godot' is a play on 'God'. The characters lives resolve around waiting for this character to appear. They don't know what he does, where he comes from, what he looks like or even who he is yet they wait. They squander their lives in waiting for this enigmatic figure they have no proof even exists. Sounds funny, but then one wonders, is Beckett satirising religion?Read more ›
VictorHALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 6 Jun 2013
Format: Audio CD
I first approached this play with my pretension antennae throbbing - from what I had heard I was rather expecting the kind of arty rollocks that is entirely pointless and has me running for the hills. I was pleasantly surprised.
On the face of it, this work is absurd. Nothing happens. And nothing continues to happen. We are treated to the incoherent and disjointed ramblings of Estragon and Vladimir as they wait for Godot to arrive. Or are they waiting for Godot? They don't seem too sure. Other people intrude on their wait in the form of Pozzo and Lucky. More seemingly inane discourse occurs. And once more, nothing continues to happen. But lurking just under the absurdism are some pointed comments on the fate of man, the existence of God, the nature of religion and the class society. And sometimes it is just absurd for the sake of absurdity. The dialogue flows, it seems disjointed yet draws you in, and it makes you think, always probing for the hidden meaning.
This 2006 release is an audio reading of the play, starring Terrance Rigby and Sean Barret is a delight. Just with voices and minimal sound design the director and actors conjure up the stark landscape of the play in your head. As an audio production it almost feels like ghosts discoursing while waiting in some purgatorial afterlife.
Spread over two discs (one act per disc), this production also contains some interesting liner notes, with some notes about Beckett, the history of the play, and the actors appearing. Compared to the universally poor liner notes the BBC do with their audiobooks I have to say I am very impressed.
A great rendition of a great play. 5 stars.
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