Independent Players to stage ‘Waiting for Godot’ – life as we know it in 2021

After having its performances of “The Government Inspector” shut down on March 12, 2020 due to the pandemic, Independent Players is returning to the Elgin Art Showcase with its production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” for two weekends, Sept. 24 to 26 and Oct. 1 to 3.

Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 1 p.m. Sundays. Tickets cost $20, $15 for senior citizens and students ages 14 and older. They may be purchased online at www.independentplayers.org or at the door with cash or check only.

“Waiting for Godot” tentatively was scheduled to be produced in May 2020, but after “waiting” these many months, it will be seen in Elgin for the first time in decades, but in very different circumstances, a news release stated. Because most people have been and still are looking ahead in time and speculating when their lives will actually return to what they knew as “normal,” they, like the two tramps in the play, are waiting.

Theater scholar Martin Esslin tells us, “The subject of the play is not Godot but waiting – the act of waiting as an essential and characteristic aspect of the human condition. Throughout our lives, we always wait for something, and Godot simply represents the objective of our waiting – an event, a person, death. Moreover, it is in the act of waiting that we experience the flow of time in its purist, most evident form. The flow of time confronts us with the basic problem of being – the problem of the nature of the self, which, being subject to constant change in time, is in constant flux and therefore ever outside our grasp.”

“Waiting for Godot” does not tell a story; it explores a static situation. This makes it very different from what one normally experiences when one attends a play, because most plays have a plot. The two main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, have opposing temperaments – causing them to bicker endlessly – but because their natures are complementary, they are dependent on each other and, therefore, have to stay together.

Pozzo and Lucky are equally complementary, but their relationship is more primitive. Pozzo is the master, Lucky is his slave. Pozzo is rich, powerful and overly sure of himself; he represents worldly man in his facile and shortsighted optimism and illusory feeling of power and permanence. Lucky carries his luggage, and thinks for him; he even taught him all the higher values of life such as beauty, grace and truth. Pozzo and Lucky represent the relationship between the body and the mind, the material and spiritual sides of man, with the intellect subordinate to the appetites of the body.

The production is directed by Dan Scott, and the cast consists of Steve Connell, Brad Davidson, Steve Delaney, Dorothea Delaney and Dan Scott. The production is partially sponsored by a grant from the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission.

Due to the pandemic, and in following state and city protocols, all audience members are required to wear masks in the theater at all times. IP is requiring those who attend performances to show proof of being fully vaccinated or having tested negative for the virus. Independent Players is requiring the additional restrictions because it wants to assure the actors and the audience alike that they safe and well when they perform or attend the production, the release stated, adding, “Remember that we are waiting for the day when we no longer feel threatened by the possibility that we may be stricken by this deadly virus.”

The Elgin Art Showcase serves as a performance and visual art space on the eighth floor of the historic Professional Building at 164 Division St. in downtown Elgin.