Waiting for Godot

Samuel Beckett at the Celtic Cafe

As part of the international celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Beckett, one of Ireland's most influential and controversial playwrights, the Gate Theatre Dublin has revived its award-winning production of Waiting for Godot for a tour of eight US cities:

3-5 October, Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.
7-8 October, Bard College, New York State
11-15 October, Annenberg Center, Philadelphia
18-22 October, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh
24-28 October, Skirball Center, New York University, New York
1-5 November, Cal Performances, Berkeley, California
8-12 November, Moore Theatre, Seattle
15-19 November, UCLA Live, LA

Press Release:

SEATTLE—Seattle Theatre Group presents Gate Theatre, Dublin in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot November 8-12, 2006 at The Moore Theatre. As part of a limited eight-city U.S. tour, Gate Theatre, Dublin brings their acclaimed cast to Seattle to perform this modern classic and quintessential Samuel Beckett play.

Written in 1949 and dubbed “the most important play of the 20th century” by The New York Times, this sublimely comic masterpiece of absurdist theatre witnesses the existential dilemma of two men waiting endlessly for the promised arrival of the all-important Godot. Will he come? When will he arrive? And who is Godot? Samuel Beckett’s first produced play is a lyrical examination of man’s search for meaning.

In a special partnership between STG and ACT Theatre, this theatrical event directed by Walter Asmus features Ireland’s acclaimed Gate Theatre, Dublin in the production that The Irish Times describes as “definitive, not just in Irish but in global terms. It is probably the closest we will ever get to the perfect official Godot.”

Touring as part of a celebration of Samuel Beckett’s Centenary, Gate Theatre, Dublin has emerged as one of the world's most respected and authoritative advocates for his dramatic works. The production at The Moore Theatre, directed by Walter Asmus, reunites the core of the Gate's 1991 Dublin cast, with Barry McGovern as Vladimir, Johnny Murphy as Estragon and Alan Stanford as Pozzo. Stephen Brennan performs the role of the servant, Lucky.

Artistic Director, Michael Colgan
Michael Colgan, Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, Dublin is also a film and television producer.

He was born in 1950 in Dublin and was educated at Trinity College, where as a student, he became chairman of Trinity Players. From 1983 until the present, he has been the Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre and before then, he was a director of the Abbey Theatre, manager of the Irish Theatre Company and Artistic Director of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

He has produced many award-winning plays at the Gate which have toured to over 20 countries. Noteworthy productions include Salomé directed by Stephen Berkoff, The Collection starring Harold Pinter, A Streetcar Named Desire starring Frances McDormand, The Three Sisters directed by Adrian Noble and starring the three Cusack sisters, and Waiting for Godot directed by Walter Asmus. He has also produced three Pinter Festivals and three Beckett Festivals. The first Beckett Festival was produced at the Gate in 1991, in which the theatre presented all 19 of Beckett's stage plays in Dublin over a three-week period. This festival was presented again at the Lincoln Center, New York in 1996 and at the Barbican in London in 1999.

His productions of Beckett plays have also been seen in many cities throughout the world and at many Festivals, notably Chicago, Toronto, Beijing and the Melbourne Festival where the productions won the prestigious Critics Award. The Pinter Festivals were presented in Dublin in 1994 and 1997 with a major festival in New York in 2001.

About the Gate Theatre, Dublin
The Gate Theatre has been, both artistically and architecturally, a landmark building in Dublin for over two hundred years. Established as a theatre in 1928 by Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir, the Gate offered Dublin audiences an introduction to the world of European and American avant-garde theatre, as well as vibrant productions from the modern and classic Irish repertoire. It was at the Gate that such luminaries as Orson Welles and James Mason began their prodigious acting careers. Today, the theatre continues to attract the finest creative talent, offering a stimulating and inclusive programme that appeals to theatregoers of all generations.

In 1983 the directorship passed to Michael Colgan, under whose guidance the artistic reputation of the theatre has continued to flourish, making the theatre unique in that there have only been two artistic directorates in 78 years.

Waiting for Godot was first performed at the Gate Theatre in 1988 following a meeting between Michael Colgan and Samuel Beckett, at which the latter asked if the Gate would be interested in the production, directed by Walter D Asmus. The Gate production of Godot has toured extensively both at home and abroad, from Cork to Chicago and from Toronto to Tralee.

The first Beckett Festival was presented by the Gate in 1991 during which all nineteen of Beckett’s plays were performed over a three-week period, accompanied by seminars and lectures on the author’s work and 1996 and 1999 saw the return of Godot within the overall structure of the Beckett Festival, as it played at the Lincoln Center in New York and the Barbican Centre in London.

In between these two showcases Waiting for Godot toured worldwide. In January 2003 the Gate presented its widely acclaimed production to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ever staging of the play. Due to popular demand Godot returned to the Gate for a further 4 weeks in October of 2003 and in May 2004, the Gate was delighted to bring Waiting for Godot to Beijing and Shanghai as part of the Ireland China Festival.

Most recently the production featured as one of the highlights of the Beckett Centenary Festival when, under the auspices of the Department of Art, Sport and Tourism, the Gate Theatre joined forces with Dublin’s leading cultural and academic institutions to present an extraordinary programme of plays, music, exhibitions, lectures and art installations in the capital throughout April. The Gate Beckett Centenary Festival production of Eh Joe starring Michael Gambon and featuring the voice of Penelope Wilton then transferred to the Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End.

Over the years the Gate has developed unique relationships with many playwrights including Samuel Beckett, Brian Friel, Conor McPherson and Harold Pinter. In October 2005 the Gate marked Harold Pinter’s 75th birthday with a celebration of his work, producing Old Times and Betrayal, and, on the weekend of his birthday, the Pinter Landscape - a selection of plays, poetry and prose - which was later presented at the Albery Theatre London and was seen in Turin in March 2006 as part of the European Theatre Prize event.

Material courtesy of Virginia Piper of the Moore Theatre, Seattle

Continuing Story

  • 1)   Waiting for Godot
Barry McGovern as Vladimir and Johnny Murphy as Estragon
Barry McGovern
Johnny Murphy