Saturday, May 06, 2006

Waiting for Godot


Last night I went to see Waiting for Godot with my husband. It’s Beckett’s centenary year (for those living in a completely different planetary sphere) and the Gate Theatre, Dublin is running a whole series of his works here with WfG getting a long run. It stars Barry Mc Govern, Johnny Murphy, Alan Stanford, Stephen Brennan and Luke Mountaine and is directed by Walter D. Asmus.


The Gate is a small theatre, intimate in atmosphere – but you really can’t get any more intimate than the second row of seats (getting showered with actor's saliva!), to get you right into the action. Barry McGovern plays Vladimir and Johnny Murphy (Joey da lips – The Commitments) plays Estragon, and they are marvellous at getting across the married couple/two halves of a whole personality in the play. Alan Stanford as Pozzo uses his enunciation and diction to really get across what Pozzo is and Stephen Brennan as Lucky (unLucky), got a round of applause for his long “thinking” speech.

It is so hard to believe that this play was written by Beckett 57 years ago. The topic is so fresh and the method of conveying an existentialist germ through all these characters is just breathtaking and it really hasn’t dated. The clowning around, the allusions to silent movies, French culture, literary culture, mime, comedy, tragedy...! I’ve yet to study this on the 20thC lit course, but for sure I’m strongly thinking of doing the assignment on WfG and Heaney’s Selected Poems… if for no other reason that they are compatriots of mine, and both are exceptionally newsworthy this year. The play was bloody brilliant and I can’t wait to see it again on DVD and get analysing for real with the course material. It may be a cliché, but watching plays performed is far better than reading them or watching on TV, because as part of the audience you have to invest energy back to the actors – that’s why they are up there: they’re working your emotions in time with the words and actions (same reason why poetry works better aurally than just off the page!).

To add my personal evening to things, I had arranged to go up and meet my husband in Dublin at Drumcondra (about 2 miles from the City Centre) about an hour before the play. His specified mission, after work ended, was to find out where the car park at the Gate was and to suss out somewhere reasonable to eat. Instead, he took a fit of the stubborns and went to the pub (can’t blame him really). So when I picked him up I didn’t know where to park the car and time was running short. The Gate theatre is part of a complex known as the Rotunda hospital – a maternity hospital. You can drive right around it (as I did four times) and there is a choice of not one, not two, but three car parks – BUT only one is the right car park! It seemed a shame not to visit all of them, as indeed we did.

Food was another yarn – having had our own Didi/Gogo-esque tiff on O’Connell Street, anything vaguely foody seemed like an option so we settled for Beshoff’s Fish and Chip Emporium. Its moniker is something of a misnomer. These days although the fish may be deep-fried, the chips have much less deep an acquaintance with the frying oil. I settled for getting carbs from the croutons (cretins?) in the supposed ‘salad.’ With fifteen minutes to go before the play’s start, a drink was definitely called for, so we went to Conway’s, allegedly the oldest bar in Dublin (a lot of Irish pubs claim this – so there must have been a competition in the long past to set them up in the first place) which happened to be serving? Yes, real homely pub grub. Ah well, we know for our next visit... as optimists say around here!

2 comments:

Monster Truck Art Gallery said...

The oldest pub in Dublin is the Brazen Head I heard, and they play on that supposed fact and it does appear to be from the 14C.

I have seen Tom and Al today and agreed to act as the gallery's Poetry Director, and we will begin on Thursday May 25 from 8.30pm onwards. The full opening line up is yet to be finalised but it will be a great night, recorded and broadcast online, so I would strongly advise attendance at this art house. Bring your own booze and a few euro for the entrtainment entrance whip round.

Cailleach said...

Sounds good - hopefully I can make it up that week!