Saturday, January 5, 2013
“They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.’ … Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play, Waiting for Godot, was premièred on January 5, 1953, in the Théâtre de Babylone, a tiny space on Paris’ Left Bank. The play’s two characters, Vladimir and Estragon (inspired by Laurel and Hardy, in bowler hats), wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot, whom they claim is an acquaintance – though they hardly know him and would not recognize him. Stranded near a tree on a barren stretch of road, they inhabit a semi-comical drama that takes place in their own consciousness, passing the time (eating, sleeping, arguing, swapping hats, contemplating suicide) "to hold the terrible silence at bay." Now a cornerstone of modern literature, Beckett wrote the play in French in 1948-1949, capturing the post-War existentialist zeitgeist.