Samuel Beckett Directs His Absurdist Play Waiting for Godot (1985)

Samuel Beck­et­t’s absur­dist play, Wait­ing for Godot, pre­miered in Paris in 1953, at the Théâtre de Baby­lone, under the direc­tion of French actor, Roger Blin. Many oth­er direc­tors staged the play in the years to come, each time inter­pret­ing it in their own way. All the while, Beck­ett com­plained that the play was being sub­ject­ed to “end­less mis­un­der­stand­ing.” How­ev­er, when an actor, Peter Woodthrope, once asked him to explain what Godot is all about, Beck­ett answered quixot­i­cal­ly: “It’s all sym­bio­sis, Peter; it’s sym­bio­sis.” Thanks for the clar­i­fi­ca­tion, Sam.

Beck­ett nev­er gave a clear expla­na­tion. But per­haps he offered up some­thing bet­ter. In 1985, Beck­ett direct­ed three of his plays — Wait­ing for Godot, Krap­p’s Last Tape and Endgame — as part of a pro­duc­tion called “Beck­ett Directs Beck­ett.” The plays per­formed by the San Quentin Play­ers toured Europe and Asia with much fan­fare, and with Beck­ett exert­ing direc­to­r­i­al con­trol. And do keep this in mind. Beck­ett paces things slow­ly. So you won’t hear your first sound until the 2:00 mark.

Find the text of Wait­ing for Godot in our col­lec­tion of Free eBooks.

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Comments (5)
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  • Chris says:

    Why is it “quixot­ic” to describe Wait­ing for Godot sym­bio­sis? I looked it up and it is defined as: “inter­ac­tion between two dif­fer­ent organ­isms liv­ing in close phys­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion, typ­i­cal­ly to the advan­tage of both.” That actu­al­ly sums up the play quite well to me, and does­n’t seem par­tic­u­lar­ly fool­ish or imprac­ti­cal.

  • Chris says:

    (Sor­ry, should read: “…describe Wait­ing for Godot as sym­bi­ot­ic.)

  • Isaac says:

    At 1:28 it says “Direct­ed by Wal­ter D Asmus”… Can some­one clar­i­fy how is this Beck­ett direct­ing his play?

  • Katherine says:

    Although it is won­der­ful to have anoth­er ver­sion of Godot on the web to view, the descrip­tion of Beck­et­t’s involve­ment in this pro­duc­tion is not very accu­rate. It makes it sound as if Beck­ett had nev­er direct­ed before. He had. He direct­ed many of his plays before 1985, helped many direc­tors with the stag­ing of his work (in let­ters and in per­son), and even was Asmus’s assis­tant direc­tor for pro­duc­tions before this one in Berlin.

  • phil hauck says:

    did you not lis­ten

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