WELCOME BACK to INDEPENDENT PLAYERS!! When our production of The Government Inspector was suddenly shut down on March 12, 2020, we thought that in May, or maybe as late as September, we would be back on stage. Optimistically, we hoped to resurrect TGI in March, 2022. Before that however, we are producing Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, which famed New York theater critic Clive Barnes called “One of the true masterpieces of the 20th Century.”
Who would have thought that we would have been through what has transpired in life on the planet since we first discussed doing a production of Waiting for Godot in 2019? The target dates were originally in May of 2020. Now, seventeen months later, we are finally mounting it under very different conditions. Presently, the production runs two weekends at the Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division Street (8th floor) on Fridays and Saturdays, September 24-25 and October 1-2 at 7:30 PM and Sundays, September 26 and October 3 at 1:00 PM. Tickets are $20 and $15 for Senior Citizens and Students (14 and older). Tickets at the door: Cash or Personal Check only.
It may seem unimportant, but somehow, staging Waiting for Godot, after waiting sixteen months, and still not being back to what was normal, seems surreal. Interestingly, what happens on stage in Godot seems to be quite similar to what has happened in our lives over all these months—most of us have done a whole lot of waiting! “The subject of the play is not Godot but WAITING— the act of waiting as an essential and characteristic aspect of the human condition. Throughout our lives we always wait for something, and Godot simply represents the objective of our waiting—an event, a person, death. Moreover, it is in the act of waiting that we experience the flow of time in its purist, most evident form.” (Martin Esslin, The Theatre of the Absurd) He continues: “The flow of time confronts us with the basic problem of being—the problem of the nature of the self, which, being subject to constant change in time, is in constant flux and therefore ever outside our grasp. . . . Waiting is to experience the action of time, which is constant change. And yet, as nothing real ever happens, that change is in itself an illusion.”
Waiting for Godot does not tell a story; it explores a static situation. This makes it very different from what one normally experiences when he/she attends a play. The two main characters are Vladimir and Estragon who have opposing temperaments which causes them to bicker endlessly, but because their natures are complimentary, they are dependent on each other and, therefore, have to stay together. Pozzo and Lucky are equally complimentary, but their relationship is more primitive; Pozzo is the master while Lucky is his slave. Pozzo is rich, powerful and overly sure of himself; he represents worldly man in all his facile and shortsighted optimism and illusory feeling of power and permanence. Lucky carries his luggage and thinks for him; he even taught him all of the higher values of life such as beauty, grace and truth. Actually, Pozzo and Lucky represent the relationship between the body and mind, the material and spiritual sides of man, with the intellect subordinate to the appetites of the body.
There has been much effort expended trying to find the source for Godot’s name which would clarify Beckett’s conscious or subconscious intention in making him the objective of Vladimir’s and Estragon’s quest. It may be a weakened form of the word “God,” (“God-Godot”) formed on the analogy “Pierre-Pierrot” (or “Charles-Charlot” — the name Charlie Chaplin’s little man is called in France and whose bowler hat is worn by the four main characters in the play. Another common notion that many believe is that “Godot” means “the God of the Old Testament” and all the ramifications of that interpretation. Whether Godot is meant to suggest the intervention of a supernatural agency, or whether he stands for a mythical human being whose arrival will change the situation, or both combined, his nature is of secondary importance. Remember: the subject of the play is “waiting.” In addition, one must remember that Beckett is fond of subtle and obscure literary and artistic illusions.
Waiting for Godot is being produced by INDEPENDENT PLAYERS in conjunction with The Guild Theater and RCLPC Theater Company of Crystal Lake with whom we have collaborated in previous seasons. The production is directed by Dan Scott who appeared with IP in Morning’s at Seven, a previous collaboration between the three groups in September 2019. The cast consists of Steve Connell, Brad Davidson, Steve Delaney, Dorothea Delaney and Dan Scott. Connell has appeared in numerous IP productions over the years and directed The Guardsman for IP in 2018. Davidson is making his first appearance with IP in this production. Steve Delaney is appearing in his fourth IP production including (most recently) The Government Inspector. This is Scott’s second appearance on the IP stage. We are extremely happy to have this powerhouse group of actors doing this very special play.
We look forward to seeing you at one of the six performances September 24-26 and October 1-3 (Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM, Sundays at 1:00 PM. Because we are still in the thralls of the pandemic, we require all audience members to wear a mask in the theater at all times and to show proof of being fully vaccinated or having tested negative for the virus within the last three days. We are requiring these restrictions because we do not want to be responsible for anyone becoming ill after attending this production. We also adhere to all of the restrictions of the State of Illinois.