The Serious Business of Falling Over
By Nick Pelling
Arguably, Samuel Beckett’s absurdist masterpiece, Waiting for Godot, has come to be, in the
last few decades, somewhat overgrown with intellectual weeds, shrivelling it into some sort of dry, cerebral puzzle. The director of the new production at The Stables Theatre, David Glass – working with the artistic director of the Theatre Nation company, Patrick Kealey – is seeking to scrape away the overblown meta-theory and bring us Beckett’s play as it was meant to be: as a physical knockabout piece in giant clown shoes. As Glass said, he wants to “return it to its roots in vaudeville, silent movies and music hall verbal gymnastics.” To put it another way, the play, is first and foremost, a serious comedy, albeit a twisted one.
Glass’s view seems to be that in the stupid pratfalls of the actors, something of the “comic idiocy” of “everything and everyone” is captured. It is tempting to see a play about dark absurdity as highly relevant to our times, when the world appears to be led by brutal grotesques and self-obsessed clowns. And, in part, that may be true. The 1948 script is undoubtedly here a play for our times.
But, Beckett was not trying to deliver a sermon on the awful state of the world; he was delving for laughter in the dark. And in this play I think we are going to find the sheer physical slapstick anarchy of Beckett’s hysterical vision let loose. Do turn up.
• The play runs from 7-11 June and tickets are available from The Stable Theatre website.
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