There is now no doubt that not only is Waiting for Godot the outstanding play of the 20th century, but it is also Samuel Beckett's masterpiece. Yet it is both a popular text to be studied at school and an enigma. The scene is a country road. There is a solitary tree. It is evening. Two tramp-like figures, Vladimir and Estragon, exchange words. Pull off boots. Munch a root vegetable. Two other curious characters enter. And a boy. Time passes. It is all strange yet familiar. Waiting for Godot casts its spell as powerfully in this audiobook recording as it does on stage.
© Beckett Estate; (P)2005 Naxos Audiobooks
This is a very creditible performance of a must-listen play, with the humor and tragedy and what I can only call the surealistic realism of Beckett at his best.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Ah, what a delightfully bleak, humorously horrible, grotesquely sublime, slapstickishly nihilistic, transcendently claustrophobic, bracingly despairing, and entertainingly frustrating play Waiting for Godot is! It's perfect.
And I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this audiobook version. The British actors, Sean Barrett, David Burke, Terence Rigby, and Nigel Anthony, are excellent, bringing Beckett's text and characters alive with wit, heart, and perfect timing. The two friends Estragon and Vladimir are an appealing pair of morosely and stubbornly heroic fools: ever waiting in the wasteland for the never appearing Godot, ever complaining about and attempting to understand their situation, never mustering the courage to escape it, repeatedly forgetting their past, playing off each other's words like suicidal comedians, sometimes arguing, and often treating each other with moving affection. There is something strangely comforting about their never-ending failures. As if an adult Charlie Brown were living with Eeyore instead of Snoopy. Pozzo and Lucky, the foil-pair of Estragon and Vladimir, are morbidly fascinating in their abusive master-slave relationship.
Here are a few of the many great moments in the audiobook: when Lucky "thinks," when Estragon and Vladimir pass their hats and Lucky's back and forth between them, when the boy angel delivers his messages (that Godot will surely come tomorrow!), when Estragon and Vladimir "abuse" each other and then make up, when Estragon and Vladimir debate helping Pozzo up, and when Pozzo makes his woeful speech, "They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more."
Waiting for Godot (like any play), of course, is a visual work of art best experienced performed live on stage. However, if you are unable to see it like that, listening to this audiobook would be the next best thing, and a wonderful experience in itself.
I know no other play to be better than this. I enjoyed reading it so much in high school, that I jumped at the occasion to take it with me wherever I go. This tragicomedy is a must for every person, everywhere!
Maybe I am just a philistine but just to listen to this play; I haven't read it or watched it yet. But just to listen to this play didn't really spellbound me.
It was a little tedious to wait w/ the characters, well voiced as they were. This just didn't do it for me.
I have recently discovered Beckett. At first I excepted not to like his plays much, perhaps because I thought he would a bit too minimalist and avant-garde for me. I was pleasantly surprised, however, that his poetic use of words, wit and subtle existential humor suited my taste perfectly. Waiting for Godot is now one of my favorite plays, and even though some of the more visual comic effects get somewhat lost in a recording, this audio-version of the play still does it great justice. I also liked that it comes with a PDF with some interesting background of the play. Highly recommended.
I am probably just an ignorant philistine but I thought this was dreadful. If this is the outstanding play of the 20th century then I at least have a clearer understandng of why I seldom visit the theatre. I am sure that it is, at some existential level, trying to tell me something but any work of literature that needs a seperate work to explain what it is trying to say has failed as far as I am concerned. For me the only compensation was that it was only 2 hours long but I would still rather have my 2 hours back please.
The emperors new cloths!
This play is subject to interpretation because it is just garbage.
It is possible to project onto it concepts of psychology, philosophy, religion, and many have done so.....but there is nothing here.
That is why for over half a century Becket refused to explain it.
There is no explanation.
Skip this one.
"A Walk On The Absurd Side"
I imagine that anyone who is interested in Waiting For Godot will be familiar with the oft quoted review by Vivian Mercier; "...a play in which nothing happens, twice.”
I am in the process of listening to this over and over again as I will shortly be playing Vladimir in a local production and am using this as an 'aide-memoire'.
This particular production works well and is eminently listenable. If I have one criticism it is that the character voices of Vladimir and Estragon in this production are crudely similar which, with no visual clues to guide, can lead to occasional confusion as to who is who though, in the context of the play, this is hardly important!
"Stay go leave stay...it's all the same"
It's brilliance is well known, it's subjects deep and absurd. The performance is great and subtle, it's waiting for Godot.
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