|Julie Marchiano, Joe Hernandez-Kolski, and Bruno Oliver | Jessica Sherman Photography|
Written by Dave Hanson and directed by Jacob Sidney, Waiting for Waiting for Godot is about two actors, Ester (Bruno Oliver) and Val (Joe Hernandez-Kolski), who are understudies for a production of Waiting for Godot.
Prior to viewing the show, I got a drink with a friend at The Broadwater Plunge next door. The man who checked our IDs told us that the set we were about to witness was based on what the Broadwater backstage used to look like. It did not disappoint–a haphazard dressing room with racks and racks of clothing that could only ever act as costumes, cheap mirrors, a muffled speaker whispering to those occupying backstage what's currently taking place in the spotlight, vintage show posters littering the walls. Anyone who's ever spent a good amount of time in a theatre, I'm sure, feels right at home in the audience of Waiting for Waiting for Godot.
The show began with some clown work. Ester, for the life of him, could not get his suddenly-too-small vest to contain his chest. It set the mood for the evening: silly.
Clowning and Beckett always did go hand in hand.
Val enters with coffee and the two discuss whether The Director will appear tonight to alert the artists to their going on stage. As the evening progresses the two talk about what it means to be an actor–from mastering technique to the all-too-frequent longing for stability to the various reasons for pursuing the craft (fame, artistry, to be remembered...).
The actors in the audience laughed at the inside jokes just for them–the emotional rollercoaster of each Meisner repetition, how they all end in a soft sob. They nodded in affirmation as Ester and Val were tempted by such things as owning a house and starting a family.
Oliver and Hernandez-Kolski were wonderfully cast. Oliver filled Ester with artistic bravado. Hernandez-Kolski gave Val that unmistakeable wide-eyed, new-actor-appreciation for the art that Angelinos see from actors fresh off the plane from their hometowns, ready to storm whatever acting classes and improv workshops they can get their hands on. Julie Marchiano played Laura the assistant stage manager so convincingly, with no-nonsense, I'd be surprised to learn she's never been an ASM before.
At its core, Waiting for Waiting for Godot is a play for actors. It's a fun, interesting evening at the theatre that gets to the heart of what it means to wake up every morning and need to create. Artists will wait as long as they need to–to perform, to share–because they have no other choice.
Waiting for Waiting for Godot runs through December 14 in the Broadwater Second Stage on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, with Sunday performances on December 1 & 8 at 5 pm. You can purchase tickets here.