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It’s a puzzle to me why we have yet to see a webcast of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” Not only is it a small-cast play with a simple set, but the theme of “Godot” would seem to be ideally suited to the moment. How should we live at a time when we are all facing the ever-present possibility of disease and death? The miracle of Beckett’s masterpiece is that it uses pulverizingly funny baggy-pants comedy to ask this soul-searching question. I don’t know another play that has the potential to speak so powerfully and directly to a world grappling with a deadly pandemic.
Absent a virtual revival of “Godot,” Bill Irwin has given us the next best thing: He’s collaborated with New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre on a one-man webcast version of “On Beckett,” his 2018 play, which he calls “an exploration of the works of Samuel Beckett.” If—like many people—you’re put off by Beckett’s reputation for being, in Mr. Irwin’s words, a “famously difficult writer,” “On Beckett” is the best possible way to overcome that obstacle. Mr. Irwin’s manner is engaging and unpretentious, and even when he’s untying a particularly knotty passage, he talks about it in a way that is at all times wholly accessible. Should you already know Beckett’s work well, you will still find “On Beckett/In Screen,” as this version is called, to be a delight to watch….
* * *Read the whole thing here.
The trailer for the original 2018 production of On Beckett: