Category Archive for: ‘Flora Lynn Isaacson’

While “Waiting for Godot” at Marin Theatre Company

Mark Anderson Phillips (Estragon), James Carpenter (Pozzo) and Mark Bedard (Vladimir) in Waiting for Godot.

Samuel Beckett’s French title, En Attendant Godot, sums up the essence of his 1953 play Waiting for Godot as it is really about what happens while two tramps wait.  Beckett’s masterpiece is directed by MTC’s Artistic Director, Jasson Minadakis.  Beckett calls his play “a tragi-comedy” in two acts.

The plot of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is simple to relate. Two tramps Estragon, (Mark Anderson Phillips) and Vladimir (Mark Bedard) are waiting by the side of the road for the arrival of Godot.  They quarrel, make up, contemplate suicide, try to sleep, eat a carrot and gnaw on some chicken bones.  Later, two other characters appear, a master, Pozzo (James Carpenter) and his slave, Lucky (Ben Johnson).  They pause for a while to converse with Vladimir and Estragon.  Lucky entertains them by dancing.  After Pozzo and Lucky leave, a young boy (Lucas Meyers) arrives to say that Godot will  not come today but he will come tomorrow.  However, Godot does not come and the two tramps resume their vigil by the tree, which between the 1st and 2nd act has spring some leaves.

Beckett’s two tramps are costumed by Maggi Whitaker in tight black suits, bowler hats and tight shoes which are reminiscent of Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy.  The minimalist set by Liliana Duque Pineiro consists of a plain black background with only a bare branched tree, a rock and occasionally a moon.

Minadakis’ superb direction shows us that life is worth living when you are with someone.  His Vladimir and Estragon are tied together because they need each other. They complement one another.  Vladimir never sits down while Estragon is constantly sitting.

Minadakis has assembled a talented cast—Oregon Shakespeare Festival Company Member is Vladimir.  Mark Anderson Phillips, previously in MTC’s Tiny Alice, is Estragon.  Both actors play off each other very well.  A standout performance is given by well-known Bay Area actor James Carpenter as Pozzo.  Former Ringling Brothers and Cirque du Soleil clown, Ben Johnson makes the most of his role as Pozzo’s servant Lucky.  His long speech is strongly reminiscent of James Joyce.

Beckett’s play is universal because it pictures the journey all of us take in our daily lives.  Habit is very important as it is the pattern of our daily lives.  We are all waiting for something to make our lives better.  The act of waiting is never over and it mysteriously starts up again each day.

Waiting for Godot runs at Marin Theatre Company January 24-February 17, 2013.  Performances are held Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. Matinees are held each Sunday at 2 p.m. and a Saturday matinee, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. and Thursday, February 7 at 1 p.m.  All performances are held at 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. For tickets, call the box office, 415-388-5208 or go to

Coming up next at MTC will be the Bay Area Premiere of The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez and directed by Jasson Minadakis, March 28-April 21, 2013.

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