Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot is the undwelming story of two men, Vladimir and Estragon who are waiting for someone named Godot who ends up never showing up. The play is very minimalist with a sparce single location and only two other characters that show up briefly in each act. It’s a very long piece of work that ultimately goes no where with it’s characters. And that is precisely the point of the play. Waiting for Godot was created with the intention of subverting the traditional construction of story. 

Waiting for Godot is still a relevant piece of entertainment in our modern day. This is mostly due to the fact that it has never been a part of mainstream culture. Things that are popular at any given time period tend to end up dated because they appeal to the popular culture of the time they originated. They are seeped in the trends of ideas that populated their designated time period. Works of media on the outskirts of culture tend to be so because they try to break the boundaries of what people deem normal. Waiting for Godot will forever be an obscure piece of art because it doesn’t follow any traditional story telling techniques. It forgoes a traditional three act story structure to tell the story of two men who don’t change, go anywhere, or learn anything over the course of the play. It also separates itself with it’s minimal approach to staging. Instead of lavish sets, costumes and choreography that are found in popular mainstream plays, Godot puts it’s characters in a setting that is really nothing more than a tree. The characters are never shown in any other location. There are no costume or scenery changes. We are left to assume at the end that Godot never arrives and the two men’s lives continue their monotony. It’s got a dry sense of humor throughout the piece that comes from the dialogue between the two men. The story will forever be relevant as an act of avant-garde.  It also remains relevant in the sense that the play is so non-specific that it can literally be about anything. It could be a comment on the nature of religion and how people put their total faith in something that can’t see or know actually exists. It could be a comment on how the little tasks, daily routines, and acquaintances in our lives mean nothing in the long run.

The parodies of the play are also very entertaining. The Sesame Street version was clever. It poked fun not only on the play’s mundane plot but also audiences’ quick response to right it off as meaningless. I loved that the Sesame Street parody personifies the tree since the play’s scenery is so sparse it might as well be a supporting character. Little parodies like this in our pop culture show that this play has affected the collective culture’s consciousness. 

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