Thursday, June 22, 2006

GOING TO GODOT. Just my luck. On Tuesday I went to Threepenny Opera when there was no amplification. Then, on Wednesday I saw Waiting for Godot on the one night when Godot showed up ten minutes into the action! You should have seen the rush on the box office....

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

I went to The HSA Theatre to see The Classical Theatre of Harlem's production of the famous Samuel Beckett play...and I lucked out by scoring one of only several tickets that had become available via cancellation. Score!

The Classical Theatre of Harlem won me over with its 2004 production of Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death, so I was looking forward to returning. And now that I've gone, I'm glad I went--the production was energetic and inventive and well-acted and well-staged and filled with genuine humor. (My one big worry about productions of Beckett plays is that they might turn out ultra-dour.) All five of the actors delivered their goods, with Billy Eugene Jones and especially Wendell Pierce (pictured), J Kyle Manzay, and Chris McKinney offering powerful characterizations in this Godot's physically demanding staging. (To avoid any spoiler problem, I've written more about that in the comments section.)

I'll fall short of deeming this a peerless production, but Godot strikes me as so hard to pull off that I'm not sure I'll ever see a better one. Those of you who made reservations for the remaining performances (the rest of the run, which ends June 25, is sold out) have much to look forward to; those who don't have tickets but really want to go might have a chance by getting to the theater at least 50 minutes before "curtain time" and seeing if you too can take advantage of cancellations.

Christopher McElroen is the director, Troy Hourie the set designer, Joan H. Cappello the production stage manager, Debra Cardona the dramaturg, and Alfred Preisser the company's Artistic Director.

And by the way: It was pronounced GOD-oh.

Photo of Sign: David Marc Fischer

1 comment:

David Marc Fischer said...

SPOILER AHEAD This Godot takes place on a damaged rooftop literally surrounded by water. It's hard not to associate the setting with Hurricane Katrina devastation (especially in New Orleans) and the attendant issues of race and class discrimination. Most of the ensemble performs wet over the course of the evening, which must be very challenging to anyone who's not David Blaine. The sloshing is impressive in itself, with one very memorable stunt.