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Actors deliver refreshing Beckett revival

Cast chemistry, comedy bring complex themes to life on stage

Arts & Entertainment Editor

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 01:02

Actors deliver refreshing Beckett revival

WAITING FOR SALVATION: Vladimir, played by Nick Cuellar holds Estragon, played by Allen Hughes, afte

WAITING FOR SALVATION: Vladimir, played by Nick Cuellar holds Estragon, played by Allen Hughes, after he suffers from nightmares and falls out of his bench. They cling to each other as they wait for the mysterious Godot.

The Sam Houston State University Theatre Department took audiences on a journey to find the meaning of life and existence as they presented their first show of the semester “Waiting for Godot” on Wednesday.

The play takes place in a post-apocalyptic world and tells the story of two men, Vladimir and Estragon, who wait restlessly for the mysterious Godot  to arrive. As they do, they find ways to entertain themselves and bring up questions about life, death and hope.

While the play could have been extremely boring because of its writing and complex themes, the actors took the challenge head-on to make it entertaining and thought-provoking.

The two lead characters, plated by Nick Cuellar and Allen Hughes, were a great pair on stage. They fed off of each other’s movement, jokes and lines to deliver characters that possessed depth. They were able to capture all the complex emotions involved with being the last of humanity such as desperation and fear while still being able to draw laughs from the audience with their comedic timing and body language. It was refreshing to watch as they went from being on the edge of madness to dancing around on stage and singing.

Despite the small cast of five men, the supporting characters were not to be ignored as they added to the comedic moments on stage that filled the theater with laughter.

In one moment, Pozzo, played by Matt Stepan, brings comedic relief to the serious tones of the play. When he is seemingly delirious and blind, he pleads for help from Vladimir and Estragon to get off the ground. When they do, the three end up in a huge pile on stage that made even the quiet audience members burst with laughter.

Aside from the acting, the set was designed to depict the decay and barrenness in the aftermath of the apocalypse. Broken and weathered debris were askew across the stage juxtapposed to a singlular tree, which gives the characters hope for survival throughout the show.

Even though the show dragged a little in the beginning, when the characters begin to question their own existence is when the central themes of the play surface for the audience.

Vladimir and Estragon struggle to survive and cling to each other as they wait for their only salvation in Godot. They question their own beliefs about God, salvation and their purpose in life. The show serves as a metaphor for today’s society to question their life’s meaning when waiting for salvation and the ability to reflect.

Thus, although it is complex, the actors delivered a great comedic performance with characters that showed depth in a stimulating revival of Samuel Beckett’s masterpiece.

“Waiting for Godot” will show every night at 8 p.m.until Feb. 16 with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10. For tickets, call the University Theater Center at 936-294-3968.

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