What is the symbolism of waiting for Godot?

Types of people in the crater Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" in Recklinghausen

"Nothing to do." - "I will soon believe it too." - "I resisted it for a long time. I said to myself: Vladimir, be sensible. You haven't tried everything yet."

In no other play in the history of theater are despair and hope so close together, and no other play reveals itself so newly with practically every production. Right at the beginning, Vladimir tells the story of the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus and one of whom is said to have been redeemed. And then he says that the four versions of the evangelists contradict each other precisely in this.

"One in four. Then both must have been damned." - "Why not?" - "The other said that one had been redeemed. Why do you have to believe him more than the other?" - "Who believes him then?" - "Man! Everyone!"

So this piece teaches early: words make the difference. Words can mean salvation. This is exactly how the wooden stage makes the difference, which Mark Lammert built as a wooden and very inclined plane in the large Ruhrfestspielhaus and provided it with a deep hole, a crater. Didi and Gogo do not wait for Godot on this stage, they dance around and slide around Godot.

Words make the difference

You can also appear or disappear in this crater, like Pozzo with Lucky, and when Didi, Gogo and Pozzo are at the top and Lucky in the crater, the master-servant relationship is clearly underlined visually. Lucky, Andreas Döhler gives the pitiful guy, heaped a huge pink sheet on his arms over and over again, which had already given him a humiliating slide across the inclined stage. Lucky also has to spin fast circles at the top of this crater like a racing cyclist, and is downright hunted.

This crater is a great symbol, enables pity or the devaluation of the other. It has never been clearer that the play is also about the discussion of social norms or assistance. By the way, a long thin pole behind the high edge of the stage is the tree from which a single spotlight hangs to illuminate the scenery.

As was to be expected with the cast with Wolfram Koch and Samuel Finzi, this "Godot" comes across as more active. Finzi's big-eyed Vladimir Didi gesticulates like a joker; he is sometimes brooding, but also light-footed and charming and, when in doubt, the positive negotiator of life. Wolfram Koch's tarragon gogo is broken, more aggressive from the start:

Director Ivan Panteleev allows a lot and everything is open

"Come on, we'll hang ourselves in a moment." - "On a branch? I would not have any confidence." - "Let us try it." - "Try." - "After you." - "No, you first." - "Why?" - "You are lighter than me." - "Just." - "The branch ... try to understand that!" - "I rely entirely on you." - "Gogo easy. Do not break the branch. Gogo dead. Didi difficult, break the branch, Didi alone." - "I had not thought of that ..."

Director Ivan Panteleev allows a lot and everything open, for example: Estragon's forgetfulness and helplessness could simply be Alzheimer's. Panteleev is a friend and colleague of Dimiter Gotscheff's directors and made a film a few years ago about the director's monolith, who recently died.

His wise approach consists in presenting a panorama of human possibilities for action and modes of existence that do not necessarily have to be consistent. This is entirely in accordance with Beckett's sense of the word, who with this piece also celebrated an openness that extends far beyond biographical or philosophical interpretations.

Panteleev doesn't let the two off the leash in a comedic way, but he lets them do magic, for example in a small pantomime demonstration of all kinds of sports from frisbee to tennis, table tennis, golf, show jumping or chess, only hinted at by the snap of fingers. The waiting has actually become irrelevant here. Life consists of desperate amusement and amusing despair, but above all of play. "We are people", it says in the piece. But also: who is going? Who helps? Who is farting? A verbose, intense evening. And again a new Beckett.