On Waiting for Godot

So what is it about Beckett’s weird, apocalyptic clown show that gives it such remarkable resonance, soulfulness—even, dare I say, flat-out entertainment value?... How could it not? For ‘Godot’ remains—there’s no use denying it—a profoundly atheist work, though we must not overlook the profundity for the godlessness. Beckett’s is not the blithe, hyperconfident, 21st-century atheism of Richard Dawkins, or the bland, self-satisfied scientism that constitutes a kind of default worldview in the educated West. It is instead the 20th century’s wounded, elegiac brand of letting-go-of-God—the entirely comprehensible incomprehension of intellectuals who felt poised between the Stygian maw of the Holocaust and the real probability of nuclear annihilation. For all its impish gallows humor, ‘Waiting for Godot’ has, to my ears at least, an unmistakeably valedictory timbre; it sounds like the lament of a one-time believer who once took the promise of faith seriously, or at the very least understood its high stakes. Put another way: Beckett’s is a voice that anyone conversant with the stark desert landscape of the Bible—anyone who has, so to speak, sat picking scabs with Job or eaten locusts with John the Baptist—will recognize in a heartbeat.

"A God-Shaped Hole," America Magazine - http://www.americamagazine.org/node/157753

I had the pleasure of seeing the opening night performance of this rendition of the play with Patrick Steward and Ian McKellen in the lead roles at the Haymarket Theatre in Edinburgh.

timothywstanley@me.com