Polk State Theatre will present “Waiting for Godot,” a show sure to challenge both student-actors and audience members, Oct. 6-9.
“This show is considered to be a classic of the American theatre,” said Director Mark Hartfield. “But no one does it because it’s hard.”
Written by Samuel Beckett, “Waiting for Godot” tells the story of Vladimir and Estragon, who meet near a tree on a country road and discover that they are both waiting for a man named Godot. They wait for two days, talking with each other and a handful of other characters who come down the road, but Godot never arrives.
For student-actors, and indeed any actor who attempts the show, the difficulty in staging “Waiting for Godot” lies in the meandering dialogue between the characters.
“A lot of the dialogue is kind of out of the blue. The characters will talk about something for a period of time and then change the subject. They’ve got nothing else to do. They are just waiting. The conversation is wandering and random,” he said.
“That’s very challenging for the actors from a pure memorization standpoint, but also it’s challenging in a how-do-we-make-this-make-sense way. There is a certain amount of learning what’s going on in the words, and then learning to perform them.”
For audiences, Hartfield said the challenge comes with understanding the deeper meaning behind “Waiting for Godot.” This is not really just a play about two people waiting on a road. This is a play about life — and how we choose to live it.
“This idea of waiting for something to happen rather than doing something to make it happen, that’s kind of where we are as a society,” he said. “Many of us are waiting for someone to take over and fix things when the best thing would be to take action and fix things ourselves.”
Philosophical as the play is, Hartfield said, it’s also funny and features a bizarre — and thoroughly entertaining — cast of characters.
Waiting for Godot” debuted on Broadway in 1956, according to Internet Broadway Database. It’s since been revived three times, including for a 77-show run that began in late 2013 and starred Billy Crudup, of “Almost Famous” and “Watchmen.”
In addition to Hartfiled, the cast and crew of Polk State’s “Waiting for Godot” includes:
Estragon, Ronnie Metcalf, Lakeland
Vladimir, Jared Austin Roys, Auburndale
Pozzo, Fabienne Alexandre, Kissimmee
Lucky, David Santiago Tate, Madrid, Spain and Wassenaar, Netherlands
Child, Alexsis Kargakos, Winter Haven
Stage manager, Vicky Hallam, Lakeland
Assistant stage managers, Alejandra Karnath, Davenport, Alexandra Rose Horton, Lakeland
Sound and light operator, Ana Kargakos, Winter Haven
Technical director and light designer, James Sharp, Winter Haven
Set designer, Stephen Packard, Lake Wales
Costume designer, Cristina Hartfield, Lakeland
Producer, Paul Carbonell, Winter Haven
Electrician and sound designer, Orlando Mora, Miami
Carpenters and scenic artists, Alex Taylor, Winter Haven, Matthew Rosario, Winter Haven
Shows are at 7:30 p.m., except for Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free for Polk State students and employees, and Polk County high school students. Tickets for the public are $10 and can be purchased at polk.edu/boxoffice or at the Box Office an hour before each show. Tickets are free for all on opening night.
The Polk State Winter Haven Fine Arts Theatre is located at 999 Ave. H N.E.
In addition to Theatre, Polk State Fine Arts includes Music and Visual Arts, all of which enjoy outstanding statewide reputations.