Saturday, May 9, 2009

Waiting for Godot, 6/81, 2nd round

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, play category

Let me start by saying that I do not like angst-ridden or depressing books. Several of my family members and myself have all dealt with depression, and some of us are still struggling. I do not need to read more about depressed people. Really, I just don't. So why did I put this book on my list? It wasn't like I didn't know what it was like. No, it was because I saw part of it, the first act, on TV and I was mesmerized. I couldn't get it out of my mind. But I never got around to reading it until this year.

The plot is simple. Two men, Estragon and Vladimir, are waiting for a third man named Godot to arrive. That's it. While they wait, they try to pass the time. Godot never arrives.

It sounds like a pointless play, doesn't it? But it adds up to so much more. I am not a theater critic, but I found so much to connect with in this play. This play, to me, is about the human struggle to find meaning in life, and about what happens if you NEVER find that meaning. What then?

This is a line I loved, from Estragon to Vladimir.
"We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?"

I am a person with a great faith in my purpose in life. And yet, I think because of that perhaps, I am also a person who knows what it means to question whether there really is any meaning at all in my own life. I think that a person of faith has greater doubts than a person without. A person of faith knows that God exists, but knows that He is not present for us. A person without faith knows that there is no God, and doesn't expect anything else. So for me, I have struggled over and over with trying to find my own purpose here in this life.

The blurb on the front reads, "One of the most noble and moving plays of our generation, a threnody of hope deceived and deferred but never extinguished." The two characters wait for something to happen. In the meantime, they fuss with their clothes, they have a little something to eat, they meet other people and try to interact, but above all, they do nothing, because there is nothing to be done. And yet, they keep coming, every day, to wait.

Not everyone will appreciate this play. I tried to explain it to my daughter and she just didn't see the point in it at all. I'm not sure why it appeals to me. I think it is the fact that at the end of the play, Vladimir and Estragon are still waiting.

I know that waiting.


SandDancer said...

Excellent review. Very timely for me to read this as I'm going to see a production of it with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stuart

Cindy B said...

Wow, what a cast! Let us know what you think.