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Waiting for Godot - Documentary

Sunday, February 27, 2011, 3:00 p.m.

Photo by Michael Zirkle

In an audacious restaging of the Beckett masterpiece that revolutionized 20th-century theater, two tramps are still waiting endlessy for a guy named Godot. But in this production, the pair are stranded in New Orleans at a post-Katrina crossroads. The documentary will show the making of the New Orleans production of Waiting for Godot with conversation to follow on art and change.

Photo by Michael Zirkle

Waiting for Godot is an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait for someone named Godot. Godot's absence, as well as numerous other aspects of the play, have led to many different interpretations since the play's premiere.

It was voted "the most significant English language play of the 20th century", Waiting for Godot is Beckett's translation of his own original French version, En attendant Godot, and is subtitled (in English only) "a tragicomedy in two acts". The première was on 5 January 1953 in the Théâtre de Babylone. The production was directed by Roger Blin, who also played the role of Pozzo.

Throughout Waiting for Godot, the reader or viewer may encounter religious, philosophical, classical, psychoanalytical and biographical - especially wartime - references. There are ritualistic aspects and elements taken directly from vaudeville (a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill).

Much of Beckett's work -including Godot- is often considered by philosophical and literary scholars to be part of the movement of the Theatre of the Absurd, a form of theatre which stemmed from the Absurdist philosophy of Albert Camus. Absurdism itself is a branch off of the traditional assertions of existentialism, and posits that, while inherent meaning might very well exist in the universe, human beings are incapable of finding it due to some form of mental or philosophical limitation. Thus humanity is doomed to be faced with the Absurd, or the absolute absurdity of existence in lack of intrinsic purpose.

Funded in part by the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies.



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