Wednesday January 23 5:05 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

"Waiting for Godot" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham


If you are unfamiliar with the plot of "Waiting for Godot" it is an absurdist comedy set over the course of two days. In Act One both Estragon (Aaron Monaghan) and Vladimir (Marty Rea), two vagabonds, are passing the time in a desolate wasteland while they are waiting for the arrival of the mysterious Godot. After some time has passed, they are visited by Pozzo (Rory Nolan) and his slave Lucky (Garrett Lombard), who instead of chains has a rope noose around his neck which acts as a leash. Pozzo and Lucky amuse Estragon and Vladimir for a short amount of time but soon they depart and it is dusk. The day has ended and Godot never arrived, though he did send a messenger who is the Boy (Zachary Scott Fewkes) that informs them that Godot will not be coming today but tomorrow.

Act Two has both Estragon and Vladimir once again awaiting the arrival of Godot. Pozzo does return, though now he is blind, and requires Lucky to guide him. Night falls and again word comes that Godot will not be coming. "People come, people go. Nothing happens" laments Estragon at one point. A lot more than "nothing" happens in this soaring and poetic beauty of a play.

Samuel Beckett, who was Irish, wrote this play in French while living in Paris in the immediate aftermath of World War II. His attempt at existentialism, under his own translation into English, is given a stirring rendition by the highly-esteemed Druid troupe. Marty Rea, who is very tall and thin and even slightly resembles a young Abraham Lincoln, contrasts delightfully with the more compact and muscular Aaron Monaghan. They are both masters of physical movement (assisted by Movement Director Nick Winston) and proficient in the skills of clowning. The variance in these two actor's sizes made for some strikingly stunning stage tableaux. Sure, there is a fair amount of vaudevillian stage business involving shuffling hats or contemplating a pair of worn boots, but that is all in the script and handled deftly by Hynes.

What makes Rea and Monaghan so mesmerizing is the evident emotional connection that they both have with one another that translates so powerfully in their character's pathos. They are so desperately dependent upon one another yet Estragon longs to break free and be on his own, but ultimately knows that he cannot survive alone. I was reminded of the characters Joe Buck and "Ratso" Rizzo from the 1969 film "Midnight Cowboy." These misfits, too, have so many questions that go unanswered.

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s World Stage series presented “Waiting for Godot”, a production from Ireland’s legendary Druid Theatre Company for two short weeks. Patrons of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier receive a 40% discount on parking in the Navy Pier Garages with ticket validated in the CST lobby. FYI (312) 595-5600 or