web journal
journal archive
www.rogovoy.com | seth@rogovoy.com

| Concert Calendar | Cultural Calendar | About This Blog | About Seth Rogovoy |
| Live Appearances and Lectures | The Rogovoy Report Archive | South Berkshire Minyan | Disclaimer |

   rogovoy.com    Web   
This is an Archival Site
There is now a new Rogovoy Report home

Weekend Preview May 19-24
Bob Dylan tributes, Deborah Voigt, Tom Paxton, Bill Kirchen, John Kirk and Trish Miller

Celebrating Bob Dylan's 70th Birthday in Style
Paying tribute to the greatest rock songwriter ever

FILM REVIEW: In a Better World and Of Gods and Men
Review by Seth Rogovoy

'LIKE' The Rogovoy Report on Facebook
Click 'LIKE' to Receive Facebook feeds from The Rogovoy Report

Deborah Voigt Headlines Mahaiwe Gala
Opera star to sing arias, show tunes on Saturday, May 21

Famed Spiritual Teacher to Speak on Nonviolence
Mother Maya in free talk at Sruti Yoga in Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday May 20 at 7pm

Special Effects Wizard to Be Honored by Film Festival
Doug Trumbull to be Feted by BIFF

Weekend Preview May 12-16
Cultural Highlights of the Berkshire Weekend

Talk about a small world
Elaine and I grew up together, but only just recently met....

Berkshire Living to Cease Publication
A Farewell from Publisher Michael Zivyak

twiGs Branches Out
Lenox boutique launches new e-tail site

[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy

every article is indexed here
journal archive


Stephen DeRosa is Estragon and David Adkins is Vladimir in BTF's production of Waiting for Godot [Photo by Kevin Sprague]

WAITING FOR GODOT by Samuel Beckett
Unicorn Theatre
Through August 23, 2008

Directed by Anders Cato

by Seth Rogovoy

(Stockbridge, Mass., August 3, 2008) -- "Nothing happens. Nobody comes. Nobody goes. It's awful!"

Lines like that hang heavy in the air at any production of WAITING FOR GODOT by Samuel Beckett, including the sharp, terrific one currently being staged at Berkshire Theatre Festival's Unicorn Theatre.

The only problem with this production is that it is so successful from top to bottom that it accomplishes what Beckett set out to do: to demonstrate, in no uncertain times, the utter irrelevance and absurdity of life and art.

In other words, after seeing GODOT, a viewer is really left wondering what's the point of going to see anything else. The work is powerful -- and so powerfully rendered here -- it's like painting after Picasso, symphonic music after Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, jazz after Miles Davis, folk music after Bob Dylan. It's a paradigm-shifting experience that renders all that has become before totally irrelevant -- a play like Shaw's Candida, seen earlier this summer at BTF, might as well be a TV soap opera next to GODOT.

Fortunately a few playwrights did pick up the gauntlet laid down by Beckett, and hence work by Harold Pinter (whose Caretaker was seen earlier this summer at BTF) and his American spawn, David Mamet, still holds the interest of theatergoers profoundly affected by the revolution created by Beckett.

Back to BTF's production: its stark, white set emphasizes the work's claustrophobia by having walls and ceilings that collapse into the vortex of a door through which only Godot's messenger can enter and exit. Each act is introduced with a fully darkened theater and a fury of noise that explodes in a climax of a flash of light, and the two main characters, Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), played respectively by David Adkins and Stephen DeRosa, thrown onto the stage through two side entrances as if they're being sucked into a black hole.

Actually plenty happens. The two are a veritable vaudeville duo, entertaining each other and the audience with Marx Brothers-like antics and verbal quips. And their essential task, embodied in the title, is interrupted twice by the arrival of Lucky (Randy Harrison) and Pozzo (David Schramm), the latter of whom may or may not be Godot traveling under an assumed name.

David Adkins as brilliant as Vladimir, fully inhabiting the role as the stronger of the two, and Schramm's blustering performance (think Zero Mostel) and Harrison's intense Lucky humanize what may otherwise be staged as an intellectual exercise.

On opening night, the only weak link was Stephen DeRosa's Estragon. Perhaps it was a case of nerves, or needing more time to assume fully Gogo's persona, but DeRosa's comic performance, which certainly had its good moments, consisted mostly of line readings and stagey gestures, betraying a lack of inner focus, especially in contrast with Adkins's Method-ical investment in Didi.

While it may spell the end of theatergoing for the summer for thoughtful viewers -- how could one sit through a romance or a drawing-room musical after being challenged to the very core of what theater is all about by Beckett? -- it is an experience that any and all who can must undergo. Plenty happens. There's lots of coming and going. It's brilliant.

Seth Rogovoy is Berkshire Living's editor-in-chief and award-winning critic-at-large.

Randy Harrison is Lucky in BTF's Waiting for Godot [Photo by Kevin Sprague]

I would like to see this play as i have heard such good reviews about it but i cant get over to america can they bring it to the uk as i am such a big fan of Randy Harrisons and i have heard that he is spectacular in it.

From IP address:

...sites that work