If Waiting for Godot is the play where nothing happens twice, then St. Louis audiences have the opportunity to get double the nothing when Midnight Productions follows fast after the Black Rep's revival of Samuel Beckett's tragicomedy with their own two-week Waiting period at the St. Marcus Theatre. Depending on whether you think Beckett's most well-known work is a revelation of modern drama or an outright bore, you have the rare opportunity to compare and contrast two local visions of one of this century's most original writers, or you can stand in line for Star Wars tickets.
Waiting for Godot, the St. Louis re-revival, features David Wassilak as Vladimir and Joe Hanrahan as Estragon. The pair, who are the actors/directors who make up Midnight Productions, follow Wayne Salomon and Ron Himes, who played the same respective roles at the Black Rep. There'll be another country road, another tree. Bowler hats, baggy pants, a bit of vaudevillian clowning mixed with existential despair. Godot still won't come, twice.
Wassilak and Hanrahan played another dramatic duo -- Jesse and Frank James in Hanrahan's own The Ballad of Jesse James -- in February. Now, as Didi and Gogo (as the characters refer to each other in Godot), they kill time rather than people, which might function asan apt comparison between American and European drama.
Let's say Beckett had emigrated from Ireland to the United States rather than France. Would the American propensity for movement and action have impressed him in the same way French indolence and inaction (as found in cafe society) did?
Frank James, wearing a cowboy hat and gun belt, sits near a country road beneath a tree, trying to remove one of his cowboy boots: "Nothing to be done." Enter Jesse James, gun drawn.
Waiting for Godot is performed at 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, May 21-23, and Thursday-Saturday, May 27-29, at the St. Marcus Theatre, 2102 Russell Blvd. Call 773-1503 for reservations.
-- Eddie Silva