Waiting for Godot

by Samuel Beckett
School of the Arts Singapore, IBCP Theatre Students
SOTA Studio Theatre, Singapore

Glad to revisit Samuel Beckett's absurdist classic after over a decade in this engaging production featuring theatre students from the School of the Arts, Singapore. 

It's a faithful and competent rendering of the play where nothing famously happens (twice) and we are left exactly where we began with two companions, Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo) waiting by the side of the road for a man who does not arrive. Yet, it pulsates with a quiet energy that inevitably draws one in, inviting us to contemplate whether the act of doing "nothing" with someone is what ultimately makes it "something". 

Director Matthew Lyon maintains the clean, stripped down staging, complete with dusky lighting. He also offers two notable changes. First, he has several actors alternate the roles of the characters. There are three Didis, two Gogos and two Pozzos (only one Lucky though!) and while it may seem strange initially to have an actor walk off the stage and be immediately replaced by another in the same outfit, it only reinforces the universality of the play and creates opportunities for varying tensions and energies to be explored between the different sets of actors. 

The other interesting aspect is the use of puppetry, manipulated by two of the Didi actors, to portray the character of the boy who comes at the end of each act to inform the pair that Godot would not in fact be arriving. It adds an almost ethereal quality to the scene, making one wonder if it was an imagined voice in their heads.

There is a solid work by the young and talented cast who manage to keep the audience rapt throughout the two-hour run. I enjoyed the mix of physical comedy ranging from slapstick to vaudeville and genuine pathos from their interactions. Standouts for me were Dharshan Nathan as Didi, Noah Yap as Gogo and Andrei Rasmussen as a deliciously imperious Pozzo. 

A wonderful student showcase. Congrats to all involved.

The Crystalwords score: 3/5


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