An Older and Wiser Cast Performs Waiting For Godot at Catastrophic Theatre
When Waiting For Godot opens at Catastrophic Theatre next week, it will be the fourth time actor Charlie Scott has stood by a country road with another down-on-his-luck man to has perform in Samuel Beckett’s tragicomedy, three of them with Catastrophic.
He’ll be joined by Greg Dean who’s been his partner in all the Catastrophic productions. Scott has been Estragon (Gogo) and Dean has been Vladimir i(Didi) in the two-act play in which the two main characters find themselves together waiting for a man who never arrives.
“It’s basically about the interactions of two people stuck together have to find things to do to bide the time. Two people imprisoned in their situation and doing whatever they can find to do to fill up the time,” Scott said.
When Beckett’s play premiered in 1952, it was considered a groundbreaking approach to theater.
Co-Artistic Director Jason Nodler will direct the play known for its infinity of waiting — something which admittedly convinces even some of the most ardent of theater goers to give it a pass.
According to Scott, that would be a mistake.
“I think because it speaks to the isolation that we all feel in some way or another as human beings as individuals. We’ve all felt alienated,” he said. “It speaks to the very basic psychological and physical state when we are waiting. Waiting for the bus or the Uber or the test results from the doctor it speaks to that sort of limbo we find ourselves in”
Also carrying the play along are the pretty fast back and forth lines the actors have to deliver, often dependant on cues to help them hit their timing Scott said. The cast also includes Kyle Sturdivant A Pozzo,Troy Schulze as Lucky and Mack Hutchison making his Catastrophic debut as The Boy.
There is humor. “It’s a really funny play about waiting and sadness and isolation and it has some great humor in it. Some of the humor is certainly derived from Samuel Beckett’s fascination with great silent films. Definitely a way in which it relates to the Laurel and Hardy films,” Scott said.
The two main characters are not alike.
“Estragon, he’s really the one that’s earthy of the two primary characters. Rock and tree. Estragon focuses more on the rock. He is very much of the ground,,” Scott said. “It’s not like he’s the smarter of the two but he kind of has a sixth sense about what’s lacking. He’s kind of an everyman in the play.”
Set design remains on the plain side, but with the addition of a road. In most productions, Scott said, the road isn’t physically depicted, but they’ve decided to add it. The other day they took a look at their 2013 production and were slightly surprised to see how well it held up.
“We were like okay that was pretty good. Jason is a different director with the exact same cast, but we’re older ,wiser with more life experiences to draw from,” Scott said.
While the avant garde theater will continue to do new work, longtime member Scott said they also feel it is important to sometime revisit older works. “You come back around to a play after ten years to add to them everything we’ve gained.”
Scott, who teaches AP literature at a private school in Houston and who previously taught at the University of Houston, says he has occasionally taught the play. “It’s one of those works of literature that people jump away from like cactus but once they see it, feel very differently.”