by Zahid Fayyaz
It’s third time lucky for this performance piece at the Pleasance Theatre, having been previously programmed and then postponed twice due to the UK’s two lockdowns. It very much turns out to be worth the wait however, as this is a fascinating and thought provoking show.
Here, Silent Faces Theatre tackles the perceived misogyny behind the decision preventing Waiting for Godot being played by women. Samuel Beckett has been dead for 70 years, but the estate still insists on all-male casts in the play.
It starts off with a silent segment consisting of the three performers waiting by a payphone for the Beckett estate to pick up their phone call asking for permission to stage an all-female Godot. This is done in mime, reflecting Beckett’s play itself. They play around and wait a bit. They then move from farce to a powerful gender and politics section regarding whether Beckett’s plays stand up to modern day requirements for gender and non-binary equality. The latter is done by way of a mock trial scene in the final part of the show. It draws out the arguments used by the Beckett estate to limit the permission for staging Godot, and sets it all out in a clear, concise and damning manner.
However a lot of this also very playful, with dance routines and lip-syncing to Madonna and Ariana Grande. The company makes good use of the fact that Beckett died the same say Madonna released ‘Like a Prayer’, implying a baton being handed over. Well performed throughout, this was a thought-provoking and funny-in-places show, and well worth a watch when it resurfaces again – as it hopefully will.
Godot is a Woman ran through 12 June.
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