Production History: “Waiting for Godot”

Studio Club de Assai radio production, 1952; Director: Roger Blin

True premier of Waiting for Godot.  An abridged version of the show was performed in the Studio of Club d’Essai, and broadcast on French Radio (Knowlson 349). Despite the show’s focus on action, its verbal power was enough for the premier.


Theatre de Babylon, 1953; Director: Roger Blin

The theatrical premier of Waiting for Godot.  It was directed by Blin, who also played the part of Pozzo. This was Beckett’s first play, and his lack of experience led to him needing to make cuts and give notes to remedy issues he discovered in rehearsal (Knowlson 348).


Production at Lüttringhausen prison, 1954; Director: “un Prisonnier”

Shortly after the premier, an inmate of Lüttringhausen prison obtained a copy of the script.  After reading, he translated it into German and decided to perform it with the other inmates. He contacted Beckett before the performance saying

You will be surprised, to be recieving a letter about your play ‘Waiting for Godot,” from a prison where so many thieves, forgers, toughs, homos, crazy men and killers spend this bitch of a life waiting…and waiting…and waiting.  Waiting for what? Godot? Perhaps. (Knowlson 369)


Several all female productions of Waiting for Godot in the 1980’s, specifically:
Production by De Haarlemse Toneelschuur, 1988

This production was brought to court by Beckett for substituting women for the all male cast. Beckett thought the quality of the male voice was necessary for the play, explaining that replacing women for men was like replacing violins for trumpets. He also claimed that he had never been notified of the performance (Knowlson 610).


Classical Theater of Harlem Production, 2006; Director: Christopher McElroengodot.190

Produced in response to the natural disaster Hurricane Katrina, McElroen’s production staged Beckett’s country road with tree in New Orleans, atop a flooded out building.  The cast was composed of four black male actors, and alluded to Godot being the federal emergency management agency. Both the casting and the set were nontraditional(Genzlinger).

Sources:

Genzlinger, Neil. “‘Waiting for Godot’ Performed by the Classical Theater of Harlem.” The New York Times  (2006). 10 Apr. 2014.

Knowlson, James. Damned to Fame : The Life of Samuel Beckett. NY, United States: Simon & Schuster, 1996. Print.