Where would you mount a production of Waiting for Godot right now? How would you stage it? Why?
So much of what was talked about regarding Waiting for Godot in New Orleans was the universality of waiting–in New Orleans’ case, waiting to helped after Katrina, waiting for the government to uphold its end of the bargain, waiting for things to become normal. I think about my own experience with waiting, and I recall how one of my close mentors and teachers from high school once told me that I seemed ready to get out of high school since the fall of my junior year. At that point in my life, the realities of going to the same school with the same 200 people for the last 13 years had started to take its toll on me, especially considering the fact that during my junior year, my friends began to mercilessly bully me and my one ally (this teacher/mentor) was in the process of being fired from the school for incredibly unjust reasons. These events were somewhat of a catalyst for me to realize that my life was at a standstill and I needed to get out.
Thus, if I were to stage a production of Waiting for Godot, I would stage it in one of Atlanta’s many wide open parking lots. There’s one by my house that I learned to drive in, and then later would spend waiting for a girl I used to babysit to be dropped off from camp, so that one has special memory for me. But I also like the idea of staging it in the West Economy Lot at the Atlanta airport, because there’s a real feeling of melancholy that descends over you while being awash in a sea of parked cars, with people going in and out occasionally, at the world’s busiest airport, while you yourself have nothing to do. It fascinates me. Atlanta is such a city of sprawl, and when I think about the things that irked me so much about living there, driving and parking and waiting is close to the top of the list. Nothing made me feel more like a cog in the machine than waiting for a parking spot to open up on a busy day, and then sliding right into the first vacancy.
In terms of staging, I like the idea of making Vladimir and Estragon younger than they’re normally portrayed, since it would get at the heart of my experience being an impatient teenager waiting to get out of high school and the south. Since it would not make theatrical sense to have them sitting in their car the entire time, I would have them sit outside their cars, and I’d play with sitting on the hood, leaning, sitting on the ground, etc. Pozzo would be staged as the type of girl that I always had a weird pity-envy relationship with (I envied her popularity and how she fit in with the “Buckhead” milieu, but I pitied her for not aspiring to be something or someone more than what everyone else looked like and wanted), and Lucky would be someone like Vladimir and Estragon, in order to provide a contrast, or a window into what their life could be like if they don’t get out. Other than those aesthetic changes, I wouldn’t mess with the text or directions (as the Beckett estate prefers!), because I love how the “evacuation of language” in the play convey such a universal feeling with very specific text.