‘Waiting for Waiting for Godot,’ a Hansburg Production in Association with The Collective NY, features refreshing moments of comedy with a sense of expectation
 by: Marcina Zaccaria

The new play by Dave Hanson is a smart look at actors at a theater waiting to perform in a production of ‘Waiting for Godot.’  In scene after scene, two frustrated understudies express discontent as they try to understand art, life, and their absurd existence.  Their moment onstage always seems to be just a step away.  They struggle, never knowing if they will stay ahead or be left behind.  Are they just a commodity?  Will they rise through the ranks?   And perhaps, most importantly, will anyone love them once they get their great moment onstage?

Both Dave Hanson as Val and Chris Sullivan as Ester are extraordinarily empathetic.  Drawing on styles from vaudeville, mime, and film, the actors breeze across the stage, embracing broad comedy and the variety arts.  They celebrate the profession of acting, and their arguments are well-crafted without being arrogant or unsettling.

As the dreamer of dreams, Ester says, “There is no room for doubters.  If you have no faith, then you have no reason to be in the arts!  Find something else to do.”  As their call to action is heard, the audience is never made to feel alienated by the Beckett tragicomedy.  As they recall scenes from their inspiration ‘Waiting for Godot,’ they are never monotonous or discordant.  They question the incongruous, but their attitude is always sophisticated without being glib.  They seem to find strength in each other as they consider their genius and the continuous climb to the next level of their profession.  They refine their Shakespeare text, test out new monologues, and discover their strength in each other.

Stage Manager Laura, played by Amy Weaver, makes a surprise entrance on stage.  Strongly proclaiming her role and ready to call the cues, Laura is energetic and on time.  The actors are quick to put her up on a box, and ask her to really give a go.  She makes her entrance and takes her stand.  As a company they are not defeated.  They have every sense of ensemble without every losing their individuality.

Smart directing from by Alex Harvey guides us moment by moment through the play, and the thoughtful set is designed by Tilly Grimes.  The actors navigate through props almost falling out of closets, changes of costume on coat racks nearby, and a broken coffee maker in their waiting zone.  Backstage space, messy and exposed, seems less appealing than the onstage space that the actors claim.  They find inventive ways to make the best out of everything while enduring the seemingly exhausting task of waiting.  At the end of the play, a medical emergency from the audience precludes the actors from ever appearing in the formal production of ‘Waiting for Godot.’

But, somehow, they find their place on the stage, bathed in their light and looking ahead towards their future.

‘Waiting for Waiting for Godot’ ran at The Kraine Theater, located at 85 East 4th Street as part of the New York International Fringe Festival.