"Are we there yet? We said it as children; we are plagued by it as adults. No matter how short or long the trip, no matter how entertaining or boring the company, no matter how beautiful or inviting the scenery, the destination was all we could think about, and we often missed the best part of the trip—the journey itself," wrote Joneal Joplin, director of the play, Waiting For Godot; Joplin's words are taken from his director's notes in the program for the play.
Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) is the playwright of Waiting For Godot. A native of Ireland, Beckett then moved to Paris in 1928, and in 1953 Waiting For Godot was produced. In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Waiting For Godot, The St. Louis Black Repertory Company is performing the play until May 16 at Grandel Theatre. Godot is filled with questions ranging from those pertaining to the purpose of life, to trying to figure out what that smell is. It is a story of two vagrants who have been friends for over 50 years, sharing stories with each other from the Bible, as well as from their own experiences of living on the streets, while eating carrots or radishes.
Waiting For Godot has a simple scenery of a tree, a large rock, and a country road. Estragon (nicknamed Gogo), played by Ron Himes, enters and sits on the rock. He proceeds in trying to take off his shoe, having some difficulty. Then Vladimir (nicknamed Didi), played by Wayne Salomon, enters the scene, looking around the country road and into his pants. Didi questions Gogo as to where he slept the night before and if he was beaten. Then Didi turns the conversation around by discussing the story of Jesus and the two thieves. He was wondering how the four evangelists could have been present at the crucifixion of Jesus and only one could have written about the two thieves.
After finishing a long or short discussion, either Gogo or Didi would resign themselves to the phrase, "Nothing to be done."
Getting tired of waiting, Gogo desires to leave, but Didi reminds him that they can't leave because they're waiting for Godot.
When they hear a noise, they run around trying to figure out what it is or who is coming. It is the cracking of a whip they hear. Then entering the scene are Pozzo, played by A. C. Smith and his slave, Lucky, played by Robert Mitchell. Of course, they think that Pozzo is Godot, but later discover that he is not.
Pozzo informs them that they are waiting for Godot on his land. Then Pozzo shouts a series of commands to his slave: "Coat . . . Whip . . . Stool . . . Back . . . Basket."
Lucky was holding the items that Pozzo was desiring. Pozzo took out a piece of chicken from the basket and began to eat. Gogo and Didi, not having anything but carrots and radishes to eat, got excited at the presence of the chicken. When Pozzo threw the bone to the ground, Gogo hurriedly ran to pick it up and asked if he could have the bone. Pozzo told him to ask Lucky because the bones belonged to him. After much effort from Gogo, Lucky gestured with his head that he could have the bone. Finally, Gogo sat down to eat the bone.
There is still time for you to be entertained by this theatre classic, Waiting For Godot. The waiting and the rambling of words are performed with wit and charm by the actors. For tickets, call Metrotix at 534-1111 or The Black Rep Box Office at 534-3810.