A couple of days ago, I posted a three minute clip of the Samuel Beckett play, Waiting for Godot that was done in 1961 on the TV series, Play of the Week. It was a now-legendary production that starred Zero Mostel and Burgess Meredith as Vladimir and Estragon.
The bad news is that this isn't a three-minute clip. The good news, though, is that...well, it's the whole freaking show! Sorry, that shouldn't read "good news," but rather remarkable news." This qualifies as yowza.
The show has a history of attracting great casts. It was recently done on Broadway with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan. Several years earlier, in 1988, Steve Martin and Robin Williams played the roles, in a production that was recorded for television.
But this may be about as classic as it gets, particularly since one likely considered it lost.
Beckett originally wrote the play in French, and then later adapted it into English in 1953. What the play is about is...oh, who knows? And I don't mean that as someone who can't figure it out (which is largely the case), but literally. Since I include the author, Samuel Beckett. Before an early radio adaptation of the French show, he sent a note to the director which was read on air (I believe) and said, in part --
"I don't know who Godot is. I don't even know (above all don't know) if he exists. And I don't know if they believe in him or not – those two who are waiting for him. The other two who pass by towards the end of each of the two acts, that must be to break up the monotony. All I knew I showed. It's not much, but it's enough for me, by a wide margin."
What's enough for me is this video of the full show, by a wide margin, too.
As for the four characters, Beckett added, "Maybe they owe you explanations. Let them supply it. Without me. They and I are through with each other."
Here those characters are. Maybe they'll let you know. But it sure is a treat listening to them through these actors trying to figure it all out...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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