SCAD presents 'Waiting for Godot' 

The Savannah College of Art and Design’s media and performing arts department has tackled the classic existential play -- Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.

Beckett drew from the traditions of French playwriting when he created his masterpiece. The play tells the story of two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, who wait every day near a rather sickly tree for M. Godot to arrive.

The tramps do not know this Godot, but they believe he holds their future in his hands. They wait and wait, but Godot does not come.

As they wait, the tramps try to amuse themselves -- they argue, they make up, they contemplate suicide, they try to sleep, they eat a carrot and gnaw on chicken bones. No Godot.

Eventually, Pozzo and Lucky, who are master and slave, happen by. Finally, a boy comes along and tells the tramps that M. Godot will not come today, but he will arrive tomorrow.

When Godot does not arrive, the tramps resume their vigil by the tree. By now, the tree has sprouted a few leaves, the only symbol of possible order in their alienated world.

Karla Knudsen is directing the play. She is a professor in the SCAD media and performing arts department.

Waiting for Godot is one of Knudsen’s favorite plays. “It is one of the plays people say they are supposed to know,” she says.

“It’s one of the sort of plays that hangs over people’s heads,”Knudsen says. “I’ve grown to love Beckett’s heart and tenderness.”

This is a first for SCAD, Knudsen says. “We’ve never touched Beckett as a department,” she says. “We decided it was definitely time to add him to the students’ experience.”

The cast is doing “wonderfully” with the production, Knudsen says. “I’ve never worked with a more professional student cast than these guys,” she says.

Jonathan Case plays Vladimir. “It’s probably the greatest role I’ve ever

taken on,” he says. “The people I’m working with are spectacular. As far as working on Beckett, it has been very exciting for me as an actor. It’s so open to interpretation.”

Case, who came to SCAD from the Oregon coast, is in his last semester at SCAD. He plans to continue working in theater, and may move to either California or New York after graduation.

After appearing in several SCAD productions, including Antigone and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Case is enjoying Waiting for Godot. He said people should turn out for the opportunity to see Beckett.

“I would tell them what an incredible experience it is seeing Beckett on stage,”Case says. “It really does boil down to the essentials of drama, where the audience can really put a lot of thought into the play. That’s the exciting thing about it. When you boil it down, it’s a tremendous piece.”

Ross Travis plays Estragon. “It’s been really great to work with Carla and the rest of the cast,” he says. “It’s been an amazing experience.”

Travis is originally from Colorado and learned about SCAD at a summer camp there. “This is the first quarter of my senior year,”he says.

Travis still is considering his options after graduation. “As of right now, it’s going to be either graduate school or I will move to Chicago,” he says.

“I want to be a performer, preferably on stage,”Travis says. “The thing about Chicago is that it is easier to get into doing stuff than it is in New York.”

Others in the cast are Ryan McCurdy as Lucky, Jamal D. Gardner as Pozzo and Nathaniel Washington as the boy.

Waiting for Godot will be presented May 6, 7, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. at the Afifi Amphitheater in the Pei Ling Chan Garden for the Arts, 324 MLK Jr. Blvd. Tickets are $10 general public, $5 students, seniors and children and free with a valid SCAD ID. Get tickets at the SCAD box office, 216 E. Broughton St., or at the door.

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Linda Sickler

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