Waiting for Godot
- A tragicomedy by Samuel Beckett, considered by many tobe the most important work written for the European stage since World War II.The play was originally written in French as En Attendant Godotin 1949 and received its first performance at the Théâtre deBabylone, Paris, in 1953. The first English production was staged in 1955 byPeter Hall at the Arts Theatre, London. The drama critic PenelopeGilliatt said the play arrived in London "like a sword buryingitself in an over-upholstered sofa." The 1956 Broadway castincluded the comedian Bert Lahr, best known for his Cowardly Lionin the film The Wizard of Oz (1939). The play later touredAmerica billed as "the laugh sensation of two continents."
The two-act play, which has been described as one in which "nothinghappens - twice", variously bewildered, fascinated, exasperated,or intrigued audiences and critics. The symbolism of the two bowler-hattedtramps (Vladimir and Estragon), waiting stoically for the mysterious Godot toarrive and bring meaning to their lives has been a subject of debate eversince. The play has been translated into over 20 languages and is regularlyrevived across the world. Some particularly resonant productions have includedthose staged by inmates of San Quentin Prison in 1963, by Susan Sontag in the besieged city of Sarajevo in 1993, and by the Classical Theatre of Harlem ina hurricane-devastated New Orleans in 2007. In 2009 there were highly praised revivals on both Broadway, where Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin played the two leads, and the West End stage, where Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart attracted large audiences to the Haymarket Theatre. see also Absurd, Theatre of the.