Vladimir and Eragon are waiting. They will forever be caught in this perpetual plane of existence, or perhaps non-existence, if you’re so inclined. And here we catch them, still waiting, in Victory Garden’s production of WAITING FOR GODOT.
Beckett’s Work at Victory Gardens
Dubbed by many as one of the most influential plays of the 20th century, Victory Gardens brings the mid-century play to the stage and keeps it the same as it’s ever been. Though, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, because as Didi and Gogo are perpetually stuck in this ambiguous, existentialist state, why should the play itself be any different?
The set remains the traditional barren landscape with a mound of dirt to the left --or perhaps grave, if you interpret it as such--, and a bare tree standing to the right.
Didi and GoGo, played respectively by Larry Neumann Jr. and Mike Saad, still come to this place every day. Didi is concerned GoGo might not be there the next day, since GoGo always has a tendency to fall asleep.
Pozzo played by Steve Pickering crosses paths with the two as the entitled landowner keeping a tight leash on his pig Lucky. And, Lucky, played by Nima Rakhshanifar, sways back and forth like he’s on his last legs and could collapse at any second.
Books Become Part of the Show
The only difference to note about this production of WAITING FOR GODOT is that there were some last minute casting changes late in the rehearsal process. This means two actors (Vladimir and Pozzo) might need books with them onstage in order to prevent stalling the action as they delivered the show. At this particular show they did perform with books, but this will mostly likely change as the production progresses.
In this writer’s opinion, it didn’t take away from the play, or cause us to not be able to suspend our disbelief. Rather, it gives a testament to these actors’ skills as they were able to deliver lines with inflection and believability that made us forget these prop books are cleverly disguised playscripts.
For Beckett Fans and Theatre Traditionalists
If you have been, are, and always will be a Beckett fan, this production of WAITING FOR GODOT will not disappoint. The script is carried off well -- the actors and all other aspects of the production remain true to its originally produced form.
If you’re not a die-hard Beckett fan, you still might like this if you like dialogue heavy shows, and have some prior experience with existential thinking. If none of these appeal to you, you can sit this one out at home.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Directed by Dennis Začek^
Lighting Design by Patrick Kerwin
Costume Design by Isaac Jay Pineda
Sound Design by Andre Pluess
Production Stage Manager: Tina M. Jach*
Publicity: Jay Kelly PR
Photography: Charles Osgood
Graphic Design: Zachary Začek
Through December 15, 2019
Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 4 p.m.
Exception: No show Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving).
There is an added 4 p.m. matinee on Saturday, November 30.
Victory Gardens Theater,
2433 N. Lincoln Avenue
About the Author
Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.
Editor's Note: Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski