'Waiting for Godot': The Acting is Brilliant

Photo by Peter Rosenstein
The set with Aaron Monaghan
The set with Aaron Monaghan

I am sure many like me might think twice before going to see Samuel Beckett's play, Waiting for Godot at the Shakespeare Theatre. After all, if you have read Beckett you know the story about the meaning of life is quite depressing and many have come away after reading it saying “OK, so what?”

Aaron Monaghan (Photo by: Peter Rosenstein) Aaron Monaghan

But I strongly suggest you get over any trepidation you have and go to the theater. This production by the Druid Theatre Company of Ireland is truly a work of art. As Michael Kahn, Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre, has said about Beckett “He showed an entire generation of writers how to make every word count, every pause, every repetition, every bit of physical business; and this cast does Beckett proud. They keep you riveted for the entire play, laughing at their antics even when you may be thinking about the story and wondering “they don’t know what life means either, so what?” 

The actors in the Druid Company have managed to get every nuance right. You laugh with them and feel for them and are amazed by their acting talent throughout. 

When you enter the theater Gogo/Estragon is sitting on a rock totally still and stays that way through the announcements to turn off your cell phones etc. The play begins and he remains still but even in his stillness and then as he tries to remove his boots without any luck you can’t help but be mesmerized. Aaron Monaghan plays the part to perfection with every movement and every word once he starts talking. When Vladimir played by Marty Rea comes upon him in the barren setting, where the entire play is set, the first word is spoken. Rea makes every move count and he plays for most of the laughs. The two other main characters in the play, and they are in both the first and second act, are Garrett Lombard as Lucky and Rory Nolan as Pozzo. Lombard, who is the slave/Lucky has a scene where he demonstrates he can think and it is so brilliant it makes the audience gasp. It is a monologue that seems not to end and you don’t want it too. All the actors use physical acting to make their points and do it so well you actually wait for a move to be repeated over and over and they don’t disappoint because they do the great moves over and over. 

Marty Rea (Photo by: Peter Rosenstein) Marty Rea

The young actor who plays Boy the night I saw the play is Malcolm Fuller and he is wonderful. In his small role in both scenes where he tells Vladimir and Estragon that Godot will not be there this evening but surely tomorrow he gets you to focus on him. Garry Hynes the director does justice to his actors and Francis O’Connor deserves kudos for the great set and costume design as does James Ingalls for the lighting. Because there is so much importance given to the physical movements in this play Nick Winston who is the Movement Director deserves mention as well for a great job. 

Again for those who know Beckett and think why should I see this production, the answer again is simple: the acting is brilliant and you will have a good night at the theater. Tickets can be ordered at the Shakespeare Theatre box office or online.