waiting for godot

Waiting for Godot

August 2014

GodotDuring the summer of 2014 two ODAG performers, who will be released before the next Shakespeare play is performed in May 2015, worked on performing a scene from Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett. After two months of rehearsals, they performed their scene for select visitors, the Oberlin student directors, friends from the general population at the GRC, and the ODAG support team, Joanne Busiel (former Managing Director) and Bruce Richards (Media Director).

Samuel Beckett's renowned mid-twentieth century play deals with what he and other existential writers saw as the absurdity of human existence.  Accordingly, the isolated characters in this play, surviving in a desolate landscape, realize that whatever they do, their acts will be forgotten or annulled by later events.

For the two ODAG performers and their audience at the GRC, the experience of the two main characters of this play is immediately recognizable as a version of "doing time."  Famously performed by residents at San Quentin prison in the 1960's, the play also appealed to the two young Grafton actors. The ODAG men chose to play Didi and Gogo because these characters' futile attempts to punctuate their endless existence with meaningful moments leads them to recognize finally that their lives become pointless when they boil down to nothing but a prolonged journey toward death or animated suspension while anticipating a person who never appears.

Like waiting for the parole board to make a positive decision, for a visitor who never arrives, or for that elusive moment when, at last, one's life "can really begin," Waiting for Godot teaches us that our time—whether incarcerated in a physical prison or in our "free" lives—is best spent caring for each other.  As we—absurdly or not—understand that even if living might not be more than "doing time," we can, hopefully, do so with a compassionate awareness that appreciating "now" and each other could be all we have.