I got out of town for the first half of today’s Wall Street Journal drama column, a review of Two River Theater Company’s new production of Waiting for Godot, which I reviewed in tandem with an off-Broadway stage version of The Screwtape Letters:
Samuel Beckett would have turned 100 next month–but so far, next to no attention has been paid to the Nobel Prize-winning playwright’s centennial. Except for an Off-Broadway “Waiting for Godot” that got swallowed up by the transit strike, there have been no Beckett revivals of significance in New York this season (though the Irish Repertory Theatre mounted a very fine “Endgame” last year). According to samuel-beckett.net, the semi-official Beckett Web site, only two full-scale Beckett festivals are being held in the entire U.S., one in Atlanta and the other in Red Bank, a small New Jersey city best known to culture vultures as the home town of Count Basie and Edmund Wilson.
It was news to me that Red Bank is also the home of a theater company, much less that the company in question had the gumption to put on its very own Samuel Beckett Festival. My curiosity having been piqued, I rented a car, drove there last Saturday, and saw a production of “Waiting for Godot” that couldn’t have been better….
Clowning about matters metaphysical is not the exclusive privilege of unbelievers. Fellowship for the Performing Arts, an organization that supports “the integration of faith and the arts,” is currently presenting an Off-Broadway stage version of C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters,” the wickedly witty epistolary novel in which His Abysmal Sublimity Screwtape, Under Secretary of the Satanic Lowerarchy, instructs his nephew Wormwood, a doltish junior tempter, in the fine art of persuading unwitting humans to part with their souls. It is–if I may say so–one hell of a good show….
No link, naturally, so do the right thing: buy a copy of today’s Journal and read the entire review (which is ever so much longer!). Or, as always, you can go here to subscribe to the Online Journal, which will provide you with on-the-spot access to the full text of my review, along with an abundance of additional art-related coverage.