Waiting for Godot

Following its first performances in the early '50's, the reputation of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot was slow to build, partly because of its deconstructive use of language, partly because of its departure from a traditional linear storyline, and partly because of the inability of many directors to mine its rich comedic opportunities.

Photo of Gary Culig as Estragon (foreground) and Brett Aune as Vladimir (background)
Gary Culig as Estragon (foreground) and
Brett Aune as Vladimir (background)
Early productions were often as painful to watch as the subject matter itself -- the absurdity of life. Even well-conceived performances of Godot founder mid-crossing, unable to cope with the seemingly repetitious nature of the script. So, to experience the Bug Theatre's current production of this modern classic is a revelation.

Director Mare Trevathan Philpott and a very talented cast astutely explore every linguistic beat and pause, and every subtle textual scene change, thereby illuminating the meaning and meaninglessness of Beckett's dialogue, all transparently informed by Pinteresque techniques and Joycean stream-of-consciousness.

Photo of (L to R) Brett Aune (Vladimir) and Gary Culig (Estragon)
(L to R) Brett Aune (Vladimir)
and Gary Culig (Estragon)
Brette Aune and Gary Culig as the inimitable Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo) are as original as the prototypical icons themselves, each giving full bloom to a version of the archetypical tramp: Aune reminiscent of Stan Laurel and Culig a throwback to Buster Keaton.

The newly-minted vaudevillian musical prologue for Act I—with Culig performing a pantomime of a man putting on a tight pair of boots—is worthy of Marceau, while Aune's inhabitation of wonderment in the face of nothingness recalls the quintessential luminosity of Chaplin. The interplay of these two talents crackles, adding immeasurably to the emotional stakes of the drama.

The play's symbol-laden intrusions sparkle as well: Kevin Hart performs the superhuman task of establishing the imperious Pozzo, and transforming him into a cultured, then vulnerable, then sympathetic character who ultimately elicits even our pity; Dennis Rodriguez's mule-beaten Lucky is instantaneously striking, exhibiting monolithic stony resolve in bitterest of circumstances, yet capable, crack by crack, of disassembling his fasçade, revealing to us the soul of a man crying out for a reprieve; and Sam Deutsch shows verbal patience and physical restraint to create an enigmatic Boy.

The Bug Theatre's brilliantly conceived and extraordinarily performed Waiting for Godot ends its run with performances Saturday, March 20th at 8 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm (with two-for-one tickets). 303-477-5977.

Bob Bows


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