About Waiting For Godot
Image Credits: ABA Productions
Written by Samuel Beckett, Waiting For Godot has been hailed as one of the most important English language plays in the 20th century. This Irish production, now in Singapore for only the second time, stars two tramps who get up to hijinks while waiting for Godot. Intellectuals will love this play, but be warned – fans of Michael Bay-esque productions will find it an uncomfortable two hours.
This production stars Neill Fleming as Vladimir, Patrick O’Donnel as Estragon, Paul Kealyn as Pozzo, and Nick Devlin as Lucky. We managed to snag an interview with Peter Reid, the production’s director.
Interview with Peter Reid, Director of Waiting For Godot
TSL: How would you describe Waiting For Godot to an audience that is not familiar with the play?
The first thing I would say is, don’t be scared that this is some dark depressing production where people discuss the meaning of life or the existence of God. It is not that. The very name of Beckett may send shivers down the spine in dread of seriousness, but, the play is actually very funny, fast, profound, engaging, thoughtful, and moving.
It is not, as some would think about two tramps discussing nothing. It is undoubtedly the best play of the 20th century and has been seen by over 200 million people since it started.
TSL: What were your thoughts when you were bringing the play to Singapore for the second time?
We loved Singapore the last time. The audience were the best we have had since this production began in 2005. They were warm and appreciative and we are delighted to return.
TSL: How is this run different from the first?
We have a new actor playing Didi – Neill Fleming. He has a long history with the company and recently won the Best Actor Award at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. He brings a different take on the part. All four of the actors have worked together on various productions of ours but this is the first time they have all worked together on the same show. It’s fun and very exciting.
TSL: How is your vision of Waiting for Godot different from Beckett’s vision?
Beckett is a director’s dream, his language and vision is so precise and accurate that as long as you read him correctly all will be well. I’ve the good fortune to have Beckett’s own changes to the text from his friend and long time Beckett actor Barry McGovern, who kindly gave me Beckett’s final notes and changes to the text. It is as close to Beckett’s vision as it can possibly be.
TSL: What improvements did you make?
I would never presume to make improvements. Of the few brilliant writers, Shakespeare included, Beckett knew exactly what was required. He directed all his own work in later life and was a fine director himself.
TSL: What did the actors do differently when preparing for their roles?
All actors approach roles from different angles. A director’s job is to get them all to the same place at the same time. Some approach it from an intellectual level and find the physicality after, others reverse that process. Some dive straight in and muddle away till they find where they are going.
I’m lucky to have worked with all of the actors for a number of years and we have a highly developed sense of one another which makes for an easier rehearsal process. Added to this we are all close friends.
TSL: What do you think people take away most from the play?
I can only answer in terms of what people have said after seeing the play. The responses can range from “I never knew it was funny”, to it having a profound effect on how much an audience can relate to the play.
TSL: How has this play influenced you?
It seems to have always been in my life. My Uncle is Johnny Murphy (Joey the Lips in the film The Commitments) and he performed the part of Gogo for over twenty years. I first read it nearly thirty years ago and have produced it six times. It gives something else back on each visit.
TSL: What are some of the newer challenges that you have encountered when directing the play?
While each production is a challenge, when you love what you do, there is no work involved. The only challenge is in getting the play right. It is a very complex thing to present something that appears simple.
TSL: What were some of the aspects of the play that you tried to bring out more this time?
Each production is influenced by the actors playing the parts. While the text and presentation remain the same over the years, the personality of the actor will always shine through. For this production, the actors playing Didi and Gogo are close friends in real life and that comes across more this time.
TSL: Lastly, who is your favourite character, and why?
A near impossible question, like asking to choose a favourite child. While I want to be more like Gogo (the childish playful one), and want to appear to be Didi (the seemingly intellectual one), I hope I’m never like Pozzo (the cruel, mad one). The older I get the more I feel like Lucky (the uncomplaining one who is burdened with the weight of the World). Haha!
Get Your Tickets From Sistic
Image Credits: ABA Productions
Dates: 19 November – 23 November 2014
Venues: SOTA – Drama Theatre, 1 Zubir Said Drive, Dhoby Ghaut, Singapore 227968
Showtimes: Wednesday to Friday, 7.45pm, Saturday, 3pm and 7.45pm – Fri, 7.45pm, and Sunday, 3pm and 7pm
Ticket Prices Standard S$88, S$68, S$58
This post is brought to you by ABA Productions.