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The Godot Company in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot

Waiting for GodotRegarded by many as the most significant play of the 20th century and produced in collaboration with some of those that knew him best, this production is Beckett as Beckett intended.

Working from Beckett’s own production notes, The Godot Company have created a production using a Beckett created system, that explores the text with repetition, rhythm, echo and the subtle patterns of sound, movement and gesture.

Waiting for Godot is one of the worlds most often performed plays. Variations in setting, time, gender and context have resulted in a host of adaptations, ranging from the raw to the ridiculous and everything in between.

This version is different. Long-standing relationships with Beckett’s first UK Publisher John Calder, his biographer and the curator of the Beckett Collection James Knowlson at the Beckett International Foundation, and Samuel Beckett’s nephew Edward Beckett of the Beckett Estate have all given the company access to some of the people that knew and worked with Beckett as well as actors and directors involved in past original productions.

Peter Marinker on The Godot Company and Waiting for Godot

BECKETT AS BECKETT INTENDED
Unpublished documents that include Beckett’s own refinement of the play in performance over the decades following the publication of the standard English edition are at the company’s disposal. They also have production notes drawn up by Beckett and his assistant Walter Asmus during the 6 months leading up to the Schiller Theatre production of 1976. These enlarge on Faber’s 1994 Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett edited by Dougald McMillan and James Knowlson, and the production’s key text. These notebooks contain sets of directional notes and disclose, section-by-section, a total system that works by repetition and analogy, musical rhythm and echo, establishing subtle patterns of sound, and movement and gestures.

Also, this production is in the round. Samuel Beckett himself wasn’t keen on this, feeling the play needed ‘ a tight box’ to work in and it’s true that large spaces in the round can tend to make work seem amorphous. But the Cockpit’s intimacy, perfect sightlines and sense of clear focus and contemplation overcome this problem and have helped the production to clarify the plays concern with circularity and the limits of action. At the centre of the round is the ‘tight box’ Beckett intended.

THE GODOT COMPANY
The Godot Company, formed in 2004 by John Calder and Peter Marinker, draws together actors and scholars with a love of Beckett and a continually evolving understanding of his work and its significance. Their Mapping Beckett series at The Cockpit, which looks at Beckett in relation to his sources and literary and political contexts, continues to provide a focus for exploration by scholars and audiences alike. Rehearsed readings and sans décor stagings of Beckett works continue to educate and inspire the still growing constituency of those that see Beckett as the pre-eminent literary intelligence of the twentieth
century.

Listings:
1st to 29th October 2014
Full details at: http://www.thecockpit.org.uk

Wednesday 16th July 2014

Author

  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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