It is 2021 and the company of Silent Faces are still waiting for Godot. But there is just a tiny problem – they are not men. Josie Underwood, Jake Wakely and Cordelia Stevenson are great admirers of Samuel Beckett’s classic and are set in stone on performing this timeless piece.
And that is where Godot is a Woman begins. The play has been selected, the actors have gathered, and the only thing missing is the right to perform Beckett’s most successful play Waiting for Godot. Stranded in some desert or another, the three performers find themselves waiting on the phone to the Beckett Estate who holds the rights to all of Beckett’s work. The penetrating jingle accompanies us throughout the play and the universal experience of call centre queues makes for a good chuckle. Silent Faces quickly enthrals the audience with their chemistry and charismatic portrayal of the human experience of waiting.
But what can one do to kill the waiting time? One can eat a carrot, for example, or one can dance to a catchy pop song, or one can imagine what a court case against the Beckett Estate would look like. Who would be invited to give evidence – Doctors? Actors? Lawyers? And on what ground would Beckett’s last wish of a solely male company performing Waiting for Godot, hold? Silent Faces explore these ideas with an undying love for “the play in which nothing happens”.
Slapstick comedy is followed by sexualised dance performances, physical theatre, and lectures on the (not so) ‘recent phenomenon of the third gender’. And that is how Silent Faces manage to kill 90 minutes of waiting time while they are waiting for Waiting for Godot to become reality. Their ability to swap characters at any second and explore the ridiculousness of the situation in such an informative and analytical way makes Godot is a Woman a very unusual experience. More dissertation than playful political theatre at times, they dive deep into the idea of the human experience, and what gender equality looks like these days.
The highlight for me is the “timeline of feminist progress since 1989”. Empowering, and uplifting, its message lies at the heart of Godot is a Woman: shouldn’t we live in the here and now and acknowledge the progress we have made as a society? Why can’t any human, regardless of their gender, perform a play about the human experience of waiting?
I just wish there were more of that.
Godot is a Woman is playing at the Pleasance Theatre until 12 June 2021. For more information and tickets visit Pleasance Theatre’s website.