J.P.Lebangood, Scott Goodman, Joey Arena, & Andrew Hoehler in Waiting for Godot. Photo courtesy The Alley Theater.
Waiting for Godot
By Samuel Beckett
Directed by Spencer Korcz
Reviewed by Janelle Renee Dunn
Entire contents are copyright © 2017, Janelle Renee Dunn. All rights reserved.
They say good things come to those who wait. Unfortunately for the characters in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, this sentiment might not be true. However, for the Louisville theatre scene this sentiment is fact.
Waiting for Godot is a show that, if not done well, could easily turn into a night of tedious absurdist theatre drivel making the audience anxiously awaiting for it to be over. This is not the case with The Alley Theater’s current production. With a strong directorial vision and superb acting, The Alley’s Godot soars.
Godot is tells the story of two friends, Vladimir (Joey Arena), and Estragon (J.P. Lebengood), awaiting the arrival of someone named Godot. While they wait they encounter a silent, baggage-burdened slave named Lucky (Andrew Hoehler) being led by a rope on his neck by his arrogant master Pozzo (Scott Goodman). It is only after some considerable time has passed that they encounter The Boy (Riker Hill), who informs them that Godot is not coming.
Never having seen a production of Godot, I was not exactly sure what to expect. However, I am glad that I had no pre-conceived notions about how this show should be done. Because of that I was able to enjoy it for what it was.
J.P Lebengood and Joey Arena banter back and forth as if they have been wandering this earth together for the past fifty years. It’s enjoyable as an audience member when you get to experience an actor being truly comfortable in their world and not having to “work.” Special recognition is also due to Andrew Hoehler’s Lucky. Being silent for ninety-percent of the play is no easy task; especially to be silent and not fade into the background. However, Hoehler is able to keep our focus without stealing it from the other actors and still not allow us to forget him.
Everything about this production just worked. It was one of the cleanest opening night productions I have seen among local companies, from both the acting and technical side of things.The set was minimal; however, the two biggest changes onstage happened without notice. In the second act the barren tree now has a leaf, which the audience didn’t notice until it was pointed out by one of the characters.
The Alley has produced a classic that you should definitely not wait to see.
Featuring J.P. Lebengood, Joey Arena, Scott Goodman, Andrew Hoehler, Riker Hill
Waiting for Godot
February 2 – 18, 2017
The Alley Theater
615 West Main Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Janelle Renee Dunn, originally from Duncan, South Carolina, is an actor, singer and teaching artist. She has a MFA in Acting from the University of Louisville and a BA in Theatre (Directing) from Berea College. Before becoming the Performing Arts teacher at Chancey Elementary this school year, Janelle Renee taught drama workshops and drama clubs to students for three years. She also appeared in the title role of a local kid’s touring show, Kylie for President (Drama by George). Janelle Renee is also the Co-Artistic Director for Smoked Apple Theater Group. She recently made her professional directorial debut with SATG’s production of Oh Lord! Mamma Done Burnt the Biscuits. Acting credits include: Click, Clack, Moo (Stage One), ShowBoat (Kentucky Opera), Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (Bunbury Theatre), Kiss of the Spiderwoman and Rocky Horror Show (Pandora Productions), Much Ado About Nothing and Becoming Mother’s (Looking for Lilith) and Doubt (Wayward Actors).