When Samuel Beckett’s absurdist masterpiece Waiting for Godot was first staged 55 years ago, it opened in a basement of a Paris pub. In conscious homage, The Victoria College Drama Society staged theirs in the Cat’s Eye, a dark and small performance space in the basement of the Wymilwood building. The space had the potential to limit the actors and the audience (then again, so does the play), but instead the entire space was filled with Beckett’s presence and a full house of spectators, watching and waiting.The show takes place on a desolate country road, where Vladimir (Anthony Furey) and Estragon (Robin Toller) are waiting for someone—or something—named Godot. Furey and Toller inhabit the space fully, as first-time director Michela Sisti allowed the actors a great deal of personal development, occasionally at the cost of a more developed dynamic between the characters.
Furey, a well known actor in the Toronto theatre scene, lacked the full maturity that Vladimir requires, especially in contrast to the comedic and childish Estragon. Despite this, Furey did deliver a strong performance, enjoying the role to the fullest.Toller’s character was more developed, but it is also the easier part to play. After all, who wouldn’t want to draw laughs in a play in which, essentially, nothing happens twice.The real comic relief, however, is Pozzo (Mike MacKinnon) and his servant/slave Lucky (RJ Hatanaka). MacKinnon exuded the larger-thanlife personality necessary, but at times his timing was off, which affected the humour of his interactions with Lucky.Hatanaka’s Lucky is perhaps the greatest source of intrigue. The clear Christ comparison was fully exploited, and the Nietschean master- slave dynamic was good, but again, lacked a full scope of vision, as Hatanaka was at times too slow in his response to his master.The original score set a haunting tone to this production. No elements of clowning were present, and the mood was serious, dark, and sombre. The music and lighting design matched. While the cues were too slow, it did not distract from the quality of the production greatly.At one point in the play, Vladimir says to Estragon, “This is becoming very insignificant.” I’d like to echo that sentiment here: not only did this production force us to come to terms with the superfluity of theatre as art, but it’s also a reminder to me to quit writing, shut up, and enjoy the show!