The Charity Randall Theatre
Through June 21st
8 p.m., 2 p.m., 7 p.m.
Sixty-one years after premiering at Théâtre de Babylone in Paris, Samuel Beckett’s iconic absurdist play, Waiting for Godot, is still being reworked for the stage and continues to captivate audiences worldwide. The minimalist masterpiece is currently being produced by PICT at The Charity Randall Theatre, located in Oakland’s Stephen Foster Memorial.
The Nobel Prize winning Irish novelist, playwright, director and poet Samuel Beckett (1906 – 1989), one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, penned the tragicomic work in which his two legendary characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly for the arrival of someone named Godot, a compelling figure whose absence has given rise to countless interpretations spanning politics, psychology and philosophy. Widely considered “the most significant English language play of the 20th century,” the avant-garde work explores human nature, time, reality, travel, language, black comedy and more.
PICT’s production of Beckett’s modernist classic is significant because it stars the company’s artistic and executive director, Alan Stanford, who is reprising his role as Pozzo, the character he played in Gate Theatre Dublin’s touring production for 20 years. As part of that production, Stanford performed throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the US, including a performance here at the Byham Theater, which introduced him to the city he has called home since 2009. The Gate’s definitive production was also immortalized in the ambitious 2012 Beckett on Film project (with the blessing of the writer’s estate).
Stanford is also providing the play’s scenic and costume design, with assistance from props master Johnmichael Bohach and assistant costume designer Lindsay Tejan. Directed by Aoife Spillane-Hinks, Waiting for Godot also stars Martin Giles in the role of Estragon (aka Gogo). Giles, who has performed and directed for PICT for 13-plus years, is returning to the stage following a battle with throat cancer. In April 2014, Pittsburgh’s theatre community rallied together to roast the popular actor and successfully raised funds to help replace his lost income.
Playing Vladimir (Didi) is James FitzGerald, who is celebrating his 13th production for PICT. The role of Pozzo’s companion Lucky is played by PICT alum Ken Bolden, who recently filmed a scene with Russell Crowe in Fathers and Daughters, and has a leading role in Lightheaded, a locally produced independent film set for the 2015 festival circuit. Sharing the role of Boy are two young actors, Elliot Pullen and Shay Freund, who both garnered PICT’s attention for their performances in Pittsburgh Public Theatre’s Shakespearean Monologue and Scene Contest.
New this year is PICT’s 2 p.m. matinee series. Go beyond the stage to explore Beckett’s pivotal play at one of PICT’s special public programs, including a post-show talkback on June 8th, a pre-show happy hour at Joe Mama’s on June 10th and more. The 2 p.m. matinee on June 21st will include American Sign Language interpretation.