If Samuel Beckett is celebrated for the changing attitudes his work brought to ‘traditional’ theatre, then why do we insist on keeping his work preserved like an artefact, guarded against further change? This is the question right at the heart of Silent Faces’ latest show Godot Is A Woman.
Delivering on fun, folly and fiery, feminist spirit, you’re guaranteed a good time at Godot is a Woman
Using comedy as their tool for exploration, this new play, coming in at just over an hour, explores the exclusion of women and non-binary performers from Beckett’s beloved classic, Waiting for Godot. Extremely topical and poignant, the company raised some serious arguments, without taking themselves or their performances too seriously.
Though at the start, I felt there was a divide in the audience, from those who were in hysterics, lapping up every gag, and others, like myself, who were in anticipation of something more stimulating than the recognisable, repetitive spoofs of Didi and Gogo, by the time we reached the play’s peak it’s safe to say we were all on the same page. There was an overwhelming sense of shared joy, and the raucous jubilations at jibes to Weinstein only added certainty to the notion that we were no longer watching three friends clowning around, but rather, everyone in the room was in that moment together.
I must say, the messages and ideas they were trying to convey should be celebrated. During the musical history lesson of female and LGBTQIA+ triumphs, amongst the exhilaration and the jubilatory cheers, I found myself welling up. The collective solidarity amongst the women in the audience at that instant has to be one of the most uplifting and euphoric moments I’ve experienced in a theatre and I commend the team for creating the space for us to all share that moment with them.
Unfortunately, it is there that I feel the show peaked at what could’ve been an ending. Structurally, I understand the need to come down from that moment and find resolution, however I feel the actual ending that was instated just missed the mark, and I found myself mourning the missed opportunities that could’ve been taken. Though the resolution they found was enjoyable to watch, it merely seemed like an injustice to some of the complex thinking and accomplishments that they had seeded throughout.
Despite a few moments and choices that, theatrically, didn’t quite land, there is much to be celebrated about this performance. Scattered with sophisticated ideas, and paired with some less-sophisticated wit, alongside some exquisite design choices, it’s a show that is enjoyable across the board. Delivering on fun, folly and fiery, feminist spirit, you’re guaranteed a good time at Godot is a Woman.