Review: Michael Shannon and Paul Sparks Make ‘Waiting for Godot’ a Witty Pleasure

Gerry Goodstein

How refreshing for a play where famously not much happens in an exercise—as its title implies—of eternal futility to spend two-and-a-half hours with such a sparky, entertaining Vladimir (Paul Sparks) and Estragon (Michael Shannon), as they grizzle and come to peaceable terms with their open-air trap of cohabitation and co-dependency.

Part of the success of this witty, riveting, physical comedy-filled adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s play at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn (TFANA, to Dec. 3), directed with corresponding intelligence and wit by Arin Arbus, is in its notion and use of space and light. Estragon opens the play in ongoing battle with his immovable shoe (“Nothing to be done”), and often he and Didi feel physically constrained in their perpetual limbo, with directors underlining the point of their confinement in simple physical terms of not being able to move much.

Here, designer Riccardo Hernández and Arbus elect to give Sparks and Shannon an entire stage to clown and play on. It doesn’t stray to extra furnishings; Beckett’s staple tree that eventually, mysteriously sprouts leaves, still stands alone in terms of adornment. Beckett laid out Act One as “A country road. A tree. Evening.” And Act Two as “Next day. Same time. Same place,” then had his characters undermine the basic trajectory of that timeframe with questioning what happens on the first day that we see.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Source: The Daily Beast

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