“Waiting For Waiting For Godot”. Written by Dave Hanson; Directed by Paula Plum; Produced by Lauren Elias; Lighting Design by Mike Wonson; Set Design by Megan Kinneen; Costume Design by Chelsea Kerl; Sound Design by Kyle Lampe; Production Management by George Page. Presented by Hub Theatre at the Club Café, 209 Columbus Ave through July 29
What a spin! Hub Theatre’s “Waiting For Waiting For Godot” takes the classic existential tragicomedy by Sam Beckett and tips it upside down – or maybe inside out – to generate some serious belly laughs. But don’t think because this play by Dave Hanson goes for comedy that it skips over its inspiration’s serious depth. It manages what humor does best (and what takes artistic craft and subtlety to achieve): slips insight in on the sly, and catches you with moments of profundity mid-laugh.
Don’t let that put you off. Layers don’t slow the fun of this hilariously well-paced, well-performed play one bit.
Set backstage at a proper production of “Godot”, “Waiting For Waiting For Godot” follows the woes of Vlad and Estragron’s understudies, one a pompous long-suffering long-time thespian, and the other, his idealistic and still-hopeful foil. Half the fun is seeing these two actors take their characters for a full spin. Orzali and Graetz play their roles with wonderful energy, and pull off the banter just as expertly as the slapstick.
As for the venue – Club Café’s corner stage is perfect. You feel as if you’re backstage yourself, and with that intimacy, it’s easy to experience the layering written into the play, which echoes the themes of “Godot” while playing its own contemporary line as well. We get the literal (and miserable) waiting to go on stage while at the same time (as Ester even hints at), we feel the figurative and ironic trap of what this waiting has come to mean: waiting to go on stage has stuck these two squarely in a waiting for life to start debacle.
“He never comes,” Ester says, looking at her script at one point, “Does he?”
Or maybe the question here is more, so? And we’re briefly challenged to wonder: What are we waiting for, and is it worth it? Is it the only option?
But let’s not bog down the hilarity with analysis.
Ultimately, we never need to wait too long – and “Waiting For Waiting For” never puts us in that predicament. More appropriately, we never need to wait too long for a laugh, even if we wait forever for Godot (or to go on stage). Maybe that’s as profound a point as ever Sam Beckett made. Waiting – it’s better, in “Waiting For Waiting For” to live life and laugh than wait. If Ester and Val don’t do it, they certainly give the audience a boat load of opportunity. The show is a delight, a laugh-out-loud romp. And we’re not waiting for anything to enjoy it.