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Updated: July 28, 2010 08:46 IST

Theatre of the absurd

JAYASHREE ARUNACHALAM
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A still from the play.
A still from the play.

It's been described as a play in which nothing happens, that yet keeps audiences glued to their seats. Nishumbita's staging of Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot brought this amalgam of absurdity and pathos to Hyderabad.

Waiting For Godot is exactly that: two men Vladimir and Estragon wait for the arrival of Godot — someone they can't remember or describe for reasons that they can't recall. Frenzied by his non-arrival, they do anything to make the time pass until Godot finally arrives: from arguments on the mundane and the existential to the consideration of suicide. During their sojourn, they also meet Pozzo and his slave Lucky.

Subtext is the essence of Beckett's masterpiece, and Nishumbita struggled to translate that onstage. It was a mammoth task to convince an audience to sit through an uneventful and meandering story that, essentially, is about waiting — something that not too many people would choose to do on a Friday night. However, compelling delivery and a faithful adherence to the English translation of the original script resulted in a strong performance.

Rammohan Holagundi excelled as Estragon while Kiran played up to him as the restless Vladimir with finesse. Niteesh Kondiparthi stepped up admirably as the hapless slave Lucky, clumsy and constrained, with Keshav Deepak as Pozzo. Bhargav played the boy who comes to tell them than Godot will not be coming.

Waiting For Godot is one of those play that everyone lauds as a work of genius, but which very few have actually read which might explain why many nuances went unnoticed by the audience. Maybe it will take some more time before tragicomedy can create a niche in the Hyderabadi theatre spectrum.


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