The only certainty in life is its uncertainty.
That's the central theme of Waiting for Godot, which Glacity Theatre Collective will present for three weekends, beginning tomorrow.
Samuel Beckett's absurdist play has a simple plot: On a country road by a tree, Estragon and Vladimir spend two days waiting for a man called Godot. The pair try to pass the time with various diversions - conversation, sleep, exercise, singing, and playing games - but nothing is totally successful.
The subject of intense debate and diverse interpretations almost from the moment it was written more than 60 years ago, Godot has been seen as an allegory for the Cold War, a Christian parable, and a metaphor for the relationship between Ireland and England. It has even been interpreted according to theories set forth by psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. It has been performed in South Africa with mixed-race actors during apartheid, in prisons, in churches, and on Broadway with Steve Martin and Robin Williams.
GTC artistic director Cornel Gabara directs Kevin Hayes as Estragon and Ben Pryor as Vladimir, Dave DeChristopher as Pozzo, Kevin Barron as Lucky, and Zachary Safadi as The Boy.
Beckett was notoriously close-mouthed about telling people what the play meant or how the actors should approach their characters, saying that everything they needed to know was in the play.
In a telephone interview last week, Hayes, the director of theater at Maumee Valley Country Day School, said, "The onion-peeling is a big cliche, but there are so many layers to the play.
"Each of the characters has different problems. I have issues with my feet and boots, things that root me to the earth. Ben, as Vladimir, has issues with his hat."
From there, Hayes began to see that his character is more grounded and Pryor's character is a thinker.
"They're probably both fallen intellectuals," he mused.
How the audience will view them is a big question; the show has always been an intellectual Gordian knot, he said.
"Some in the audience will see profound insights, others will just hang their jaws and wonder what happened.
"The first time I saw something in the absurdist genre, I thought about it for days to try to make sense of it. I think that was one of Beckett's goals, to make his work stick around a lot longer than the two hours it's on stage."
"Waiting for Godot" is scheduled at 8 p.m. tomorrow-Sunday and June 18-20 and 25-26 in Studio A at the Valentine Theatre (410 Adams St. entrance). Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 from the theater box office, 400 North Superior St.; by phone at 419-242-2787, and online at valentinetheatre.com/boxoffice.html. The Sunday performances will be "pay what you can," and tickets will be available at the door only. Information: glacity.org.
Jeffrey Albright, a frequent performer in Toledo Repertoire Theatre productions, is taking a page out of the Rep's book. He's directing a reading.
Scheduled tomorrow at the Mansion View Inn is That's So Gay!, based on several short works by Paul Rudnick. Presenting the readings will be John Duvall, Aggie Alt, Barbara Barkan, Scott Dibling, and Carol Ann Erford.
When the show, then called The New Century, was presented in Manhattan in 2008, the New York Times' Ben Brantley said, "Building on time-honored traditions within gay and Jewish humor, Mr. Rudnick turns stereotypes into bullet-deflecting armor and jokes into an inexhaustible supply of ammunition."
Albright emphasizes that the show is definitely for adults.
The event begins at 7:30 p.m. with a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception in the inn at 2035 Collingwood Blvd.; the reading begins at 8. Tickets are $15. Information: 419-244-5676.
Contact Nanciann Cherry at: firstname.lastname@example.org