This is a famous 1953 play by Samuel Beckett that is in the absurdist tradition. It features two older men who have been together for a long time and have clearly seen better days, as can be discerned by their current shabby clothing coupled with their highly sophisticated use of language and their recollections of good times in the past in various parts of Europe. A man named Godot has told the two of them to wait for him by a tree on a desolate road. The two dutifully wait, clearly expecting their fortunes to improve once he arrives.
I had heard about this play but never actually seen a stage performance. Just last week I was speaking with a colleague in the theater department and he spoke about using this play in his course on the introduction to theater and he recommended a production that was part of the Beckett on Film series produced by Beckett’s estate that filmed all 19 of his plays. This particular play cane be seen online. (You have to ignore the subtitles in what seems to be Esperanto.)
I watched it over the weekend and have to admit that I don’t know that I ‘got it’, if there is anything to get. As I have mentioned before, I am not very good at discerning deep meaning in the arts and the deliberately absurdist nature of this play sent it over my head. But having said all that, I found the play to be fascinating and pretty funny in parts. The acting was excellent and the dialogue was gripping and I will definitely watch it again some time in the future.
Absurdism in the arts is by itself not uncommon and in addition to its philosophical depth can also provide a rich vein for humor. Monty Python owes a lot of its humor to the absurdist tradition where characters engage in illogical conversations and reasoning, and non sequiturs are the norm.
Sesame Street had one of its best parodies ever in its take on Waiting for Godot.