Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-11-27
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



THEATER REVIEW Waiting for Godot
by Sean Margaret Wagner

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Author: Samuel Beckett

At: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln Ave. Tickets: or 773-871-3000; $20-$40. Runs through: Dec. 15

For being the great, rule-breaking work of its time, Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot can end up feeling forced into an unimaginative mold, every time you see it—with the same single tree and same bowler hats. The draw for performers and directors is what they can achieve with characters who are blank slates.

If each scenario and character is a void, then how those voids are filled is at your artistic discretion. ( Exceptions are women, who are not permitted to perform Waiting for Godot by Beckett's estate. Stage directions indicating a character's sex must be followed to the letter. ) Director Dennis Zacek has assembled a cast of notables for Victory Garden's late 2019 production, perhaps with the hope that that would be enough. It's a struggle to see why Chicago needs a version of Godot that is content to stay a void, and not challenge some of the dated conventions Beckett still insists upon.

Two men—Vladimir ( Larry Neumann Jr. ) and Estragon ( Michael Saad )—exist in a bleak and vast nothingness, with only one reason to stay right where they are: the often delayed arrival of Godot. Until Godot arrives, the duo volleys between anticipation and dread for other contact, be it from Pozzo ( Steve Pickering ) and Lucky ( Nima Rakhshanifar ), an owner and slave, still insisting on/performing their dynamic duties without a social demand, or a boy ( Cooper Hoyt ) who heralds nothingness to come.

Saad is an endearing Estragon, with an unusual, buoyant physical presence. He is strongest when clowning, but sometimes cagey with moments of deepening emotional depth. The introduction of Nima Rakhshanifar's Lucky is a disturbingly compelling, and his mostly silent, bent posture presence brings a question to life: Why does subjugation exist here, and what responses does it elicit? I wish this production had a stronger opinion about the degradation it showcases. Neumann Jr.'s Vladimir is a doting caretaker and task-minder, and Steve Pickering brings bombast and impatience to the role of Pozzo, both actors doing a stellar job keeping pace in roles recently vacated by other actors.

Waiting For Godot could still be visionary in the right hands. It could confront the limits/exclusions often present in theater of the absurd. It could question the rules of not questioning the author's rules. However, the creative team at Victory Gardens was too bogged down in the logistics of getting this production on its feet to ask the question of why they wanted to. This Waiting for Godot has opted out of the hard conversations Chicago is currently having about prioritizing the work of women and people of color in stage productions. Opting out is quite a plum privilege to exercise, isn't it?

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Tall Boy 2019-12-07 - Playwright: Simon Bent At: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: and 773-327-5252; $35-$39. Runs through: Dec. 15 The absence ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Cold Town/Hotline: A Chicago Holiday Story 2019-12-07 - Playwright: Eli Newell At: Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St. Tickets: 773-338-2177, or; $25-$30. Runs through: Dec. 22 Cold Town/Hotline: ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The White Plague 2019-12-07 - Playwright: Karel Capek, translated by Peter Majer and Cathy Porter At: Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland Ave. Tickets: 773-384-0494;; $20-$25 ( ...

Gay News

About Face to run 'The Gulf' 2019-12-06 - About Face Theatre continues its 2019-20 season with the Chicago premiere of Audrey Cefaly's award-winning drama The Gulf, running Jan. 9-Feb. 15, 2020, ...

Gay News

Chay Yew departing Victory Gardens Theater 2019-12-05 - The Victory Gardens Theater board of directors and Artistic Director Chay Yew announced plans for Yew's departure from Victory Gardens at the end ...

Gay News

Hell in a Handbag Productions to hold annual "Hams4Hams" Holiday Fundraiser 2019-12-04 - CHICAGO ( December 4, 2019 ) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to bring back its annualHams4Hams fundraiser during the company's ...

Gay News

Black Ensemble Theater announces 44th Season 2019-12-03 - Chicago, IL—Black Ensemble Theater's Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor announces its 44th Season: The 2020 Season of Change. The 2020 Season includes tributes ...

Gay News

Congo Square Theatre to present rare production of Day of Absence 2019-12-02 - CHICAGO ( December 2, 2019 ) — Congo Square Theatre Company, well known for its powerful portrayal of African American classics and gripping ...

Gay News

Jewish theater arts conference takes place 2019-12-02 - The Alliance for Jewish Theatre ( AJT ) hosted the largest Jewish theater arts conference in the country Nov. 3-5 in Chicago. ...

Gay News

Chicago drag production in Louisville Dec. 21 2019-12-01 - For the past decade, Snow White and the Seven Drag Queens has played to sold out crowds in Boystown, at the SOHO House ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.