Waiting for Godot. Have you ever gone to a play you hated and loved the show?
So, my boyfriend and I saw Waiting for Godot at the Cort Theatre. I wasn't overly excited at the prospect of seeing a play that in all of my theatre classes had been described as a play where "nothing happens-twice." I had been forced to read said play for a paper, and it was definitely not the most... engaging of reads. Sure, it had its moments, but I had trouble appreciating why everyone and their mother seemed to consider it such a terrific classic. But I had seen enough theatre to know that plays are meant to be seen, and if any actors were going to make Waiting for Godot something other than a snooze fest, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart were the men for the job. The comic book lover in me was in awe at the fact that I was going to see freakin' Magneto and Professor Xavier on stage together. And I knew that I was not alone. A few looks around at my neighbors and I spotted in addition to their playbills, some X-Men and Lord of the Rings posters. I figured that they, like me, were probably going to try to bombard the cast at the stage door.
The set was very simple, with nothing more than a knobbly old tree to look at, but it really set the mood for what was to come. And then there they were: Didi and Gogo in the flesh. Immediately, I saw new dimensions to these characters that I truly couldn't create for myself through a mere reading of the play. What really hit me was the humor. I'm not saying Waiting for Godot is all sunshine and rainbows; It can be very bleak at times. But I definitely never considered it to be funny, and there were moments that had me dying! Was it simply the duo of Ian Mckellen and Patrick Stewart? I'm sure that was part of it. But I think I can safely award Samuel Beckett some credit here and go as far to say that he intended for the play to have these little gems of comic relief dispersed throughout both acts. And it took a staged production of the play for me to grasp it.
Waiting for Godot is filled with much dialogue that when reading can seem plain dull. I know that's what I thought. I can't tell you how many times the line "We're waiting for Godot" happens in the play (let's just say a LOT), but suddenly some of the lines that I originally took for fluff, which if I'm being honest was a good chunk of the play, didn't bother me in the slightest. Actually, those moments strengthened the experience because by the time Lucky's speech came around, it was all the more mind-blowing because it was in such contrast to the rest of the show.
I exited the theatre, and what did I see? Not much, because of all the snow blowing in my face. That's right, a blizzard! Anyone wanna tell me why I always end up seeing shows during bad weather? But we didn't let a little snow deter us; We tried to find a spot in the line by the stage door, without slipping on any black ice. But these people were much more diehard fans than I had thought, and there was a flat-out mob outside the stage door. Deep down, I knew that waiting was useless, but I comforted myself with the thought that even if I didn't meet the stars or get a photo, I could still see them. And see them I did. Even in the biting cold, these overworked men signed a considerable amount of playbills and even snapped photos. And although I couldn't feel my face by the time all the cast came out of the stage door, the waiting felt worth it to me. And who would have thought I'd have done all that for a play I thought I hated? I suppose in the world of theatre too, seeing is believing.