Waiting for Godot (Warten auf Godot)

by Samuel Beckett
Set & Costumes Mark Lammert
Sounddesign Martin Person
Dramaturgy Claus Caesar
Berlin-Premiere September 28, 2014
A co-production with Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen
Wolfram KochEstragon
Samuel FinziWladimir
Andreas DöhlerLucky
Christian GrashofPozzo
Berliner Zeitung
Harald Jähner, 30.09.2014
This play is a play not least of all about theatre, because those who are waiting, while they wait, pretend that they have something to say. Time and again, it works incredibly well, even without words, when finger-clicking pantomime performance segues into a brilliant mime show of table tennis, golf, polo and chess. That we do all these things only to play for time, in the face of terrible nothingness, was seldom laughed at with such cheerfulness and high spirits, or so justifiability.
When Pozzo and Lucky enter the stage as master and servant – Christian Grashof, dextrous to his fingertips, and the convincingly badgered Andreas Döhler – and Lucky begins to think on command (“Think, you bastard!”) in a shilly-shallying travesty of knowledegability, the audience’s laughter begins to falter until – with a speech, spelling out the play’s background, on the millions of deaths caused by the Holocaust – they are struck dumb. (...)
Panteleev’s clownesque production is extremely respectful, in that it accurately extracts the Beckettian wit owed to the knowledge that we have nothing better than this wit, save perhaps the few embraces that our souls can tolerate. One example of this is where Finzi and Koch try to swap coat for jacket. The only props left over from earlier productions are the clothes on their backs, with the exception of an enormous piece of pink material, which poor Lucky folds and folds. No more suitcase, no hanging rope around Lucky’s neck. A lighting pole has to serve as a tree. “What’s with the weeping willow?” asks Estragon. “Will have died. Past mourning.” This is true, and untrue at the same time.
This play is a play not least of all about theatre, because those who are waiting, while they wait, pretend that they have something to say. Time and again, it works incredibly well, even without words, when finger-clicking pantomime performance segues into a brilliant mime show of table tennis, golf, polo and chess. That we do all these things only to play for time, in the face of terrible nothingness, was seldom laughed at with such cheerfulness and high spirits, or so justifiability.
When Pozzo and Lucky enter the stage as master and servant – Christian Grashof, dextrous to his fingertips, and the convincingly badgered Andreas Döhler – and Lucky begins to think on command (“Think, you bastard!”) in a shilly-shallying travesty of knowledegability, the audience’s laughter begins to falter until – with a speech, spelling out the play’s background, on the millions of deaths caused by the Holocaust – they are struck dumb. (...)
Panteleev’s clownesque production is extremely respectful, in that it accurately extracts the Beckettian wit owed to the knowledge that we have nothing better than this wit, save perhaps the few embraces that our souls can tolerate. One example of this is where Finzi and Koch try to swap coat for jacket. The only props left over from earlier productions are the clothes on their backs, with the exception of an enormous piece of pink material, which poor Lucky folds and folds. No more suitcase, no hanging rope around Lucky’s neck. A lighting pole has to serve as a tree. “What’s with the weeping willow?” asks Estragon. “Will have died. Past mourning.” This is true, and untrue at the same time.
Berliner Morgenpost
Stefan Kirschner, 30.09.2014
Finzi and Koch plumb the depths of this play’s comedy in all its nuances. The duo plays a pantomimic tennis match that segues into a kaleidoscope of sports. They acrobatically swap jacket and coat. Talk, rave, and argue. Because the waiting has to be filled somehow. Because even the hanging rope is missing and they’re too old to leap from the Eiffel Tower: “No one would let us up there these days”.
In his cleverly reduced production, director Ivan Panteleev incorporates many quotations from the Beckett cosmos. With this reserved interpretation, he is close to Beckett, who once directed Godot at the Schiller Theater, liberating it of all profundity and pushing the acting into the limelight. Stage and costume designer Mark Lammert has placed a square ramp on stage, and in the centre there is a funnel out of which the actors appear – and sometimes threaten to disappear. Godot doesn’t appear on this occasion either, but seldom has waiting been so entertaining as it is in this belated, brilliant opening to the season at the Deutsches Theater.
Finzi and Koch plumb the depths of this play’s comedy in all its nuances. The duo plays a pantomimic tennis match that segues into a kaleidoscope of sports. They acrobatically swap jacket and coat. Talk, rave, and argue. Because the waiting has to be filled somehow. Because even the hanging rope is missing and they’re too old to leap from the Eiffel Tower: “No one would let us up there these days”.
In his cleverly reduced production, director Ivan Panteleev incorporates many quotations from the Beckett cosmos. With this reserved interpretation, he is close to Beckett, who once directed Godot at the Schiller Theater, liberating it of all profundity and pushing the acting into the limelight. Stage and costume designer Mark Lammert has placed a square ramp on stage, and in the centre there is a funnel out of which the actors appear – and sometimes threaten to disappear. Godot doesn’t appear on this occasion either, but seldom has waiting been so entertaining as it is in this belated, brilliant opening to the season at the Deutsches Theater.
Kulturradio vom rbb
Peter Hans Göpfert, 29.09.2014
The special attraction of this production initially lies in the revival of the duo Wolfram Koch and Samuel Finzi – late Dimiter Gotscheff’s favourite team, to whom Panteleev dedicates this production. Finzi is on a comical roll for two and a half hours. He’s worth seeing, just for the moment when he talks out of the side of his mouth because it is insinuated that Didi’s breath smells. Koch plays an almost acrobatic Estragon, somewhat morose with touches of Alzheimeresque forgetfulness, and indignation each time he is told why he must stay and wait a little longer. Wonderfully, the two flick back and forth on a rapid air-match of diverse sports. Christian Grashof manages to turn out the terrible exploiter Pozzo without even cracking a whip. His variety-show question, “How was I?” nails the principle of the production. It hinges on a glut of amusing little scenes. And in the role of Lucky, Andreas Döhler hurls out his lunatic’s interpreting-the-world monologue with shattering, heart-breaking intensity. The special attraction of this production initially lies in the revival of the duo Wolfram Koch and Samuel Finzi – late Dimiter Gotscheff’s favourite team, to whom Panteleev dedicates this production. Finzi is on a comical roll for two and a half hours. He’s worth seeing, just for the moment when he talks out of the side of his mouth because it is insinuated that Didi’s breath smells. Koch plays an almost acrobatic Estragon, somewhat morose with touches of Alzheimeresque forgetfulness, and indignation each time he is told why he must stay and wait a little longer. Wonderfully, the two flick back and forth on a rapid air-match of diverse sports. Christian Grashof manages to turn out the terrible exploiter Pozzo without even cracking a whip. His variety-show question, “How was I?” nails the principle of the production. It hinges on a glut of amusing little scenes. And in the role of Lucky, Andreas Döhler hurls out his lunatic’s interpreting-the-world monologue with shattering, heart-breaking intensity.
Der Tagesspiegel
Rüdiger Schaper, 30.09.2014
Mark Lammert, the set designer of this coproduction between the Deutsches Theater Berlin and the Ruhrfestspielen Recklinghausen, finds a clear and poetic solution for Beckett’s nowhere location: the action takes place on an extreme wooden slant with a crater at the centre. Things can only go downhill. Or straight into the mouth of hell. And behind, at the back – Beckett’s famous tree! – stands a metal pole with a lamp. Stage technology replaces nature’s stump. Mark Lammert, the set designer of this coproduction between the Deutsches Theater Berlin and the Ruhrfestspielen Recklinghausen, finds a clear and poetic solution for Beckett’s nowhere location: the action takes place on an extreme wooden slant with a crater at the centre. Things can only go downhill. Or straight into the mouth of hell. And behind, at the back – Beckett’s famous tree! – stands a metal pole with a lamp. Stage technology replaces nature’s stump.

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