Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Written by Dave Hanson
Directed by Paula Plum
Review by Kitty Drexel
Trigger warnings: bathroom use without washing hands
(Boston, MA) Waiting for Waiting for Godot (WfWfG) is Beckett fanfiction through the lense of a Durang play. It’s confusing, absurd, and ultimately very funny. Hub Theatre Co of Boston does a fine job with Dave Hanson’s script.
WfWfG is about two adult men trashing a green room while impatiently waiting to go onstage. Ester (Robert Orzalli) and Val (Gabriel Graetz) are understudies for Waiting for Godot. Like their characters of origin, they wait for word from the mysterious director. She never comes. Instead the ASM, Llama (Lauren Elias), delivers messages of reason. Ester and Val will have none of it.
Hanson pokes loving fun at the posturing, idiosyncrasies, and rituals of actors. Ester and Val are caricatures of real people preparing to play stripped down male archetypes. These men are lead by their Ids and super-egos. Their Egos are waiting for standing room tickets down the street. Hanson takes private backstage moments of intimacy and reveals them to the harsh views of non-actors. Seen from the safety of the audience, Ester and Val’s neuroses appear absurd. Within the context of a production (bad study practices aside), their behaviors are all too familiar.
Orzalli and Graetz are very well matched as the childish leads. They are 16 year old minds in adult bodies prepping for their first high school production. They are completely unprepared for the stage but they are more than ready to convince us that they are.
The execution of the show’s physical comedy is very well done. Orzalli and Graetz took good care of each other on stage; feeding energy and reciprocating as necessary. Graetz’s performance of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” stole a moment from the show but was stealthy enough not to shut it down. Their comedic timing is golden. Their implementation of Plum’s staging looked natural.
The sound design by Kyle Lampe lifted the production from silly to absurd. Mike Wonson’s twirling gobos, and impossible backstage spotlights brought us farther into the madness. Megan Kinneen’s set and prop design were exceptionally meta. One could tell how deep the characters were into their own emotional journey based on the stage dressings.
Separately, these design elements worked very well. Together they occasionally confused the audience. For example, there was a dark cue followed by a gobo to which a sound cue was added. The actors had vacated that room. The audience momentarily believed that the show had ended. We were going to clap, but then the lights started rotating. The irony was not lost that this performance had us waiting much like the characters onstage.
Waiting for Waiting for Godot is about “actors acting like actors” while non-actors watch. We are an insecure yet arrogant, sensitive but detached group of determined individuals. Hanson sees us as the passionate messes we are and points out our BS. WfWfG is a funny show for everyone but other actors, seeing themselves, will likely enjoy it the most. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, we have no business laughing at anyone else.
WfWfG is performed without intermission. It runs approx. 90 minutes.
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Congressional “negotiators” released a spending bill that saves the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for Humanities, and National Public Radio until September at which time, the President and his impotent cronies may still cut arts funding. It is ever important to remain vigilant. And, for the love of all that’s sacred, keep creating. If you need help, ask for it. Our existence is our resistance. May the force be with you. – KD
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