Fruitlessmoon Theatreworks Brings Waiting for Godot to San Diego
The Wait for Godot is Over!
While sitting in a crowded coffee shop, I struggled to hear Aimee Greenberg over the din of customers ordering extra whipped cream on their excessively sweet drinks. A blender kicked on, and she had to raise her voice to almost shout across the table at me, when all of a sudden an employee elbowed a glass and it fell, hitting the ground with a sharp crash. Just like that, the coffee shop froze as 20 people held their breath. Glass scattered across the floor—patrons in flip–flops, beware—but Aimee Greenberg burst into laughter. “That’s going to be in there,” she said with a wide grin. “That’s great. What a moment.”
Shocking yet mundane moments are exactly what Greenberg and her production company, fruitlessmoon theatreworks, plan to highlight in their upcoming production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. First performed in 1953, Waiting for Godot tells the story of Vladimir and Estragon as they simply wait for the mysterious Godot, a man whom they have never met and who ultimately never shows up. Through all of the eternal waiting, however, Vladimir and Estragon convey a level of wry humor that keeps the audience laughing at their antics and impatience.
Though Godot is ultimately a comedy, there is a subtle darkness expressed through the endless waiting of Vladimir and Estragon, darkness that leaves audiences with a tinge of discomfort. The play is only 63 years old, but Greenberg argues that Waiting for Godot is already timeless because everyone can relate to waiting for something that never comes. “It’s dark, but it’s universal,” Greenberg explained. “Everybody can relate to being in limbo; everybody can relate to waiting for something on a very basic level. [People wait] all the time for change in their daily lives.” In truth, Godot may be timeless because the play is deceptively simple. There are no verbose fight scenes or intense murder mysteries. The play lacks any musical numbers or prolific dances. What Waiting for Godot does have is a strong, eerie feeling that you’ve stood with Vladimir and Estragon before, waiting day in and day out, for something that never comes.
So how will Greenberg go about bringing such a universal theme to the stage? Well, as it turns out, the answer is very carefully. “Everything about this play is walking on a tightrope, a tightrope between comedy and tragedy, pathos and humor, darkness and light,” Greenberg said. But finding a balance between levity and the underlying darkness isn’t the only tightrope Greenberg has to walk; she also plans to use a controlled amount of multimedia in the show. “I have to be careful how much I use, because it’s suggestive. [Too much multimedia] and you start overlaying and interpreting for the audience things that are supposed to remain open.”
In casting Godot, Greenberg looked for actors who could carry the weight of waiting as Beckett originally envisioned. “The ability to handle the language was the most important part,” Greenberg stated. “[They had] to have an affinity for the play.” Actor Tom Steward, who won the role of Vladimir, is excited for the opportunity to portray one of Beckett’s most famous characters. So how would he describe the ever–questioning Vladimir? “[He] is needlessly verbose at times, and that’s certainly something I can relate to! He overthinks and over–speaks while missing what’s right in front of him.” Yet for a character that is so loquacious, Greenberg believes it is the moments of silence that make Godot truly magical. “The darkest parts of the play are expressed in the silences,” Greenberg pointed out. “There are voids that you go into with the actors, and those are the moments that everybody in the audience feels.”
And sometimes, silence can be a powerful thing. Just like how an act so small and insignificant as the shattering of a glass can bring a screaming stillness to a crowded room, Greenberg’s Waiting for Godot believes that every word Beckett wrote and every action the characters take (or don’t take) is significant. That is the true treat in watching Greenberg’s production: every moment matters, no matter how big or small. “Nothing is an accident,” Greenberg explained. “Nothing is over or understated. Waiting for Godot is a perfect work.” Get your tickets for Waiting for Godot, which opens on March 25th and will run until April 10th at White Box Live Arts, located at NTC Liberty Station.