I have never managed to sit through more than the first act of this play, but decided to try again this year, reasoning that if Stephen Ouimette, Tom Rooney, Brian Dennehy and Randy Hughson could not make it work, no one could.
And they certainly made it work! The whole thing was brilliant – the staging, the costumes, the lighting, and most importantly, the acting. I am rapidly reaching the point where I will pay money to watch Ouimette and Rooney read a cereal box, so I confess to a bias. But the two of them are amazing to watch. Each can convey so much with just a look, or a raised eyebrow. This production is funny and sad, frightening and heartening all at the same time. Estragon (Ouimette) is so sad and disheartened every time Vladimir (Rooney) reminds him that they have to keep waiting for Godot.
Brian Dennehy (Pozzo) and Randy Hughson (Lucky) make a dramatic entrance in each of the acts. Dennehy is larger than life as the cynical slave driver, but then seems fragile when he reappears in the second act, blind.
Randy Hughson gave an absolutely brilliant performance. His physical presence was painful to watch, as he thrust his neck forward to rest, and transformed his hands to claws, incapble of easily lifting or grasping his great burdens. But it was his rant that transfixed the audience, who could not resist applauding when he finished. It was truly amazing to watch and hear.
I must see this production again from another vantage point, to make sure I did not miss anything. It was definitely worth a standing ovation.