“This play makes you think a lot about cycles in life and relationships and the silly things we do to distract ourselves from bigger issues,” says Audrey Vail, a senior theatre major from Blythewood, South Carolina, who plays the character Gogo.
This fall, while many theatres around the globe remain shuttered with uncertain futures because of the global pandemic, Wofford College’s Theatre Department returns to the stage with a production of “Waiting for Godot” by Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett.
Dan Day, associate professor of theatre, is directing Wofford students in the play, which runs from Nov. 5-7 and Nov. 11-14 in the Jerome Johnson Richardson Theatre at 8 p.m. nightly. The production is only open to current Wofford students, faculty and staff. Admission is free.
Many scholars and critics consider the play one of the most important works of the 20th century.
“‘Waiting for Godot’ is still provocative, fascinating and as challenging as ever,” says Day.
Five Wofford students have roles in the play and 15 others are supporting it in various capacities from stage management and design assistance to technology support and backstage operations.
A masterful absurdist play by one of the most influential European dramatists in modern history, “Waiting for Godot” features two unforgettable characters searching for purpose and enlightenment against a bleakly comic landscape.
With this production of “Waiting for Godot,” Wofford Theatre attempts to bring Beckett’s masterpiece to 2020, and Day envisions the show as “a reflection and exploration of our current world.” He continues, “While Wofford’s version features contemporary characters, imagery and situations, the production strives to be faithful to Beckett’s themes of humanity’s search for meaning, the power of friendship and love, and the dangers of blind obedience and conformity.”
Beckett’s plays have been widely produced nationally and internationally, and his impact on the theatrical landscape of the 20th and 21st centuries can hardly be overstated. For his diverse and incomparable body of work, Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. Among many other accolades, he was also awarded multiple Obie Awards and in 1984 was named Saoi of Aosdána, the highest honor bestowed by an association of Irish creatives.
“Waiting for Godot” premiered in Paris in 1953 in its original French, and the English translation was first staged in London in 1955.
“This play makes you think a lot about cycles in life and relationships and the silly things we do to distract ourselves from bigger issues,” says Audrey Vail, a senior theatre major from Blythewood, South Carolina, who plays the character Gogo. “There’s a lot going on in the world that many people would rather avoid, much like the characters in the play are trying to avoid acknowledging their own situation, but in the end, it doesn’t work, and those things come to light. I’m incredibly excited to share this production with our audiences in the coming weeks.”
While admission is free, seating is limited. The box office will open at 7 p.m. nightly, and all patrons are asked to check in with their Wofford IDs to claim admission passes while seats are available. Seats may not be reserved in advance, and no late seating will be permitted. CDC guidelines on social distancing will be observed, and masks are required. For more information, visit www.wofford.edu/boxoffice.
“I always think about our productions as primarily for and about the Wofford community,” says Day. “So even though we’re only able to seat 40 patrons a night, I hope that everyone around here who really wants to see the play will be able to do so.”