One of the most famous stage directions in theater history _ other than Shakespeare’s “Exit, pursued by a bear” _ is from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. At the end of the absurdist comedy’s first act, two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, are frustrated. They’ve been waiting and waiting for Mr. Godot who never seems to show up.
“Well?” says one. “Shall we go?”
“Yes,” says the other. “Let’s go.”
Then Beckett adds: “They do not move.”
It’s sort of like how Seinfeld was a TV show about nothing. In its exploration of nothingness, it managed to be about a zillion different things.
Everyone wants to know who Godot is. Is he God? Is he Death?
“If I knew, I would have said so in the play,” said a cranky Beckett, clearly tired of being asked to explain his cryptic comedy.
Figure out the Godot riddle for yourself this week as Cal Performances brings back the Gate Theatre of Ireland production starring Barry McGovern and Johnny Murphy in the lead roles. McGovern and Murphy also starred in the 2000 production that rolled through Berkeley.
Performances are at 8 p.m. today and Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison St., Berkeley. Tickets are $65. Call (510) 642-9988 or visit www.calperfs.berkeley.edu for information.