"They owe you some explanations, perhaps."

Tying in with our favoured analogy for the never-ending political-processing.. [actually ahead of Peter Hall’s 50th Anniversary production of the play – Ed] actor Simon Callow has a great article, in The Guardian, tracing the influence of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot from its opening night in January 1953 at the nearly defunct Théâtre de Babylone in Montparnasse. “Charming evening we’re having.” “Unforgettable.” “And it’s not over.” “Apparently not.” “It’s only beginning.” “It’s awful.”

As Simon Callow says –

Now that its influence has begun to wane, and it ceases to remind us of its imitations, we can again see the most influential play of the second half of the 20th century for what it is. Waiting for Godot has lost none of its power to astonish and to move, but it no longer seems self-consciously experimental or obscure. With unerring economy and surgical precision, the play puts the human animal on stage in all his naked loneliness. Like the absolute masterpiece it is, it seems to speak directly to us, to our lives, to our situation, while at the same time appearing to belong to a distant, perhaps a non-existent, past.

  • G.M.C.

    I think only now that Godot is terrible and a joke, and for you if you’ll take it, nothing else, and a kind of timebomb, a sore one which seems of nothingingness on initial aquaintance though is more like a bomb of all density. The allusions to Northern Ireland’s situation of recent decades here is valid within as it seems to me directly to sum up what has been experienced from an unaware and detatched distance here. There is no merit in Godot, I’ve no doubt the play believes only a fool would think there is, whereas on initial aquainatance with some of Beckett’s other play these do not fall into this category.

    Godot is bull**** I utter in seeming phariseeism but could it be this, merely the opposite opinion of what is normally and confusingly stated, just another opinion? I am aware that Northern Ireland has no truck with the notion of this play now and can learn nothing from this utter rot. I am surprised at so many people for taking it so seriously for so long, when the characters are laughing at the audience and not much more. Do you laugh with them?

    I can see only that the play was intentionally utter rot, and a trap. The similarities of the essence and nature of this play to elements of Northern Irish life of recent years are remarkable, something to do with nihilism, anarchism and possession and foolishness of someone somewhere, and the further demon of inaccountability also lurks always in this play though at least it doesn’t pretend to go into issues this appearance may then be seen to raise. The trick is to laugh with it and perhaps fool it that you are taking it seriously, the play. It will stop, this strange, awe-inducing irrespectful thing of no substance and anti-substance rather than what we do.

  • Denny Boy

    GMC, you are courageous. Godot is perhaps my very favourite play. Slag it off and you tread on my soul.

    But I think you need to see it performed by the right people. Only then will it sweep you up and make you its own. Rightly or wrongly I believe that Beckett wrote it on autopilot and that it works on a level that is irrational.

    Hmm, perhaps that brings it close to NI after all 😉

  • G.M.C.

    I did used to like it, Denny Boy, though in recent re-evaluation as I have recently re-evaluated so much especially that which I took as the very good or great somehow, it seems to be only malevolent and existant within mould. Its existence seems to be the demonstration of this, this its essence then, its only purpose, nothing positively purposive, if you chance upon it veritably, it shines this existence at you, your choice in this world of choices, your choice its only reason or conjured presence, it though from where nothing shines. For Bluebeard it’s the wrong door. But I’d rather watch the door itself. It appears it is from deeper in the sick world where seats move and appear to be something else to Roquentin in Nausea by Sartre. Roquentin was sick.

    I was waiting for something else I had presumed lay within the literature and drama, which didn’t appear though it is a bigger, all-encompassing kind of “something else” I now find, the play itself, and it is a choice for fools. It just seems to communicate this. The play is a fallacy and I could say a fallous attempt at comment on human life though I don’t believe it can be seriously any attempt at anything like this, intentionally. It is more boring than Mr. Chips and perhaps even more deviant. There is more substance in Mr. Chips, though both leave the audience with the questions, “what was I seeing if anything” and, “why on earth did I watch it”.

    Regarding this in a wider sphere, I can’t see any artist or human interest within aside fleetingly from the contrast between the two sets of characters and the provocative thoughts from the less heroic though more theatrical pair, Pozzo and Lucky. Lucky’s mad soliloquy provides some fleeting interest in thought, perhaps “is this life anything and what?”, though this appears just a joke and is not substantial enough to keep the audience awake. There is nothing there. Look. I’m afraid it’s more deviant than that anyway. I don’t respect Beckett for this.

    Again in nearly all relevant respects, this nihilism plucked into this world from a seemingly wiser (where we don’t have an appropriate term in this land) world of full nihilistic apreciation and anti-existence, is analogous with the often ruinous situation in Northern Ireland of the latter twentieth century.

    It is nothing to me as art. Nothing as anything but waste in the best human terms applicable to it. “It’s terrible. Nothing happens.” Though I would be pleased to hear what you see in it, what anyone finds in it genuinely.