From March 7th to the 10th, the Clarke University Drama and Musical Theater Department will be performing Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett at Terence Donaghoe Hall. The show features a five person cast, including students Jamese Kane, Kayla Winandy, Riley Beckett, Alannah Walker, and alumnus Colin Muenster (‘08).
Waiting for Godot is, according to director Joe Klinebriel, a piece of work that belongs to the “Theatre of the Absurd.” According to the notes included in the shows program, the term was coined by Martin Esslin in his 1962 book of the same title. Essentially, absurdist theatre is a form of drama that is meant to call attention to the absurdity of human existence.
“It’s essentially two men waiting for this fictional character named Godot who never comes,” says Klinebriel of the production. “But what it’s really about is what we do to validate our existence in the meantime. The games we play, the things we do, the relationships that we have and that we form to help us figure out what it is that we’re doing while we’re passing our time.”
The subject and plot of the play may seem abstract and difficult to understand– but that, according to Klinebriel, was Beckett’s point. “He was very particular about silence and timing and the use of language, but he won’t answer too many questions. People always want answers to this play, and I think they’re going to bring their own meaning to it.”
Riley Beckett, a senior at Clarke University who is currently pursuing a degree in drama, says that the particulars of the play were gratifying, though difficult.
“The experience for me was challenging because, during the time my character is onstage, he doesn’t speak very much, so my performance was mostly physical,” says Beckett of his rehearsal experience. “For the lines that the character does have, I had to do a lot of reading and research to figure out what exactly the character was saying and why. The language was difficult to grasp at first because it’s very different from what I’m used to and Samuel Beckett’s use of language is very creative and unique.”
Thankfully, the cast itself is very small, giving Klinebriel a lot of time to work intimately with the actors and crew on the construction of the show.
“Whenever I get an opportunity to work with a smaller group of actors or people it’s a much more intimate experience,” says Klinebriel. “In an educational setting, it’s even that much more fulfilling for me and the actors because there’s just more devoted time between me and them.”
To see the Clarke Drama Department in action, come attend Waiting for Godot on either Thursday, Friday, or Saturday at 7:30 p.m. or Sunday, March 10th at 2:00 p.m. Tickets prices are $10 for general admission, $7 for seniors, and $5 for non-Clarke students. Students of Clarke University can attend for free. All tickets will be available at the door.
by Charlotte Rodewald