Roanoke stages haven’t often seen productions of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” despite the play’s status as a masterpiece of 20th-century absurdist theater.
A bare bones summary of the plot hardly sounds enticing. For two acts, two hobos wait in a desolate landscape for a mysterious man named Godot — pronounced “Guh-DOH,” by the way, not “Go-DOT,” as I once thought.
Yet there’s a poetry to the non sequitur dialogue and word games between the main characters that Miriam Frazier, artistic director of Roanoke’s Gamut Theatre, sums up by saying, “Being lost together is always better than being lost alone.”
Frazier acted in an all-female production of the play when she was a student at Hollins College.
“I’ve always been in love with the play,” she said. Because of the way certain snatches of dialogue repeat themselves, “it’s sort of like a long song with a repeating chorus.”
For the protagonists in Beckett’s 1949 play, Frazier cast Kris Laguzza and Stevie Holcomb — two actresses frequently seen in regional theater productions — as Estragon and Vladimir (aka Gogo and Didi), respectively.
Both Frazier’s previous experience and casting choices would likely have drawn protest from Beckett, who was opposed to having women cast in “Godot.”
“These are really iconic parts,” Frazier said, asserting they belong to the theater community at large. “I was always open to casting it with both men and women.”