“Waiting for Godot” Set Design Rationale

[pic] “Waiting for Godot” [pic] In the production “Waiting for Godot” there are not many scenic changes made within the play. The writer of “Waiting for Godot” Sam Beckett developed the play in the form of the Theatre of the Absurd created during WW1. The Theatre of the Absurd plays are confusing and sometimes have hidden meanings concealed with dark humour. Playwrights focus their writing on conveying a sense of puzzlement, anxiety, and wonder in the face of an unexplainable universe.

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For example, in the play “Waiting for Godot” there are only two main scenes set in the same place; act 1 and act 2. When the two main characters Vladimir and Estragon go to sleep they wake to see the only large piece of scenic structure, a tree, has changed only slightly by growing leaves. The characters discuss how one only day has passed. However, the tree changing from bare branches to showing signs of life displays a seasonal change (e. g. winter to spring), rather than the passing of a day. Each day they wake up and wait for a man called Godot, centring all scenes around a lone tree on set.

The only other scenic changes focuses on the movement of the characters with each other and their interactions with the set itself, rather than major structural scene changes. I have attached an example with a diagram of the only set change in the play. [pic] The effect of levelling by the actors standing or sitting to reveal different status or authority, appears many times in the play “Waiting for Godot”. This effect helps describe the different status of all five characters throughout the production. I have placed the seating at the front f the stage where the audience will be placed at the top of the upwards slant seating them closest to the sky with the main stage below on a lower level. This would also show that Estragon and Vladimir (on stage) are the farthest away from the sky and are stuck in the world, far away from heaven. This effect gives immediate contrast between audience members and the characters. To further enhance this contrast, the actors enter at the bottom of the stage by walking out from under the audience’s feet and travel along the gravel road.

This also suggest the actors were just walking down the road and do not deliberately seek each other for company. The advantage of the audience seating in a vertically configuration, semi- encircling the stage, is to enhance the visibility of everything that is happening on stage including highly detailed scenic changes used in the production. This seating also increases the effect of voice projection (the ability for the actors to make their voice loud and clear without shouting) with the audience placed at the best level for sound waves to carry.

This seating arrangement helps audiences hear the actors even without microphones, though I have decided to use speakers on each side of the stage to help maximise the understanding of the words being said. I would place lights at such an angle that they would have faint lines representing bars running along the floor of the stage showing that Vladimir and Estragon were truly trapped inside their own minds of madness. The lighting would vary according to the action, mood, or tone of the play, but will be focused on illuminating the stage leaving the audience dark.

This would make the audience feel separate from the events of the play enhancing the theme of the spirit presence versus physically existing. “Waiting For Godot” Set Design Rationale “Waiting for Godot” is a play by Samuel Beckett in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait for someone or something named Godot. Godot’s absence, as well as numerous other aspects of the play, has led to many different interpretations since the play’s premiere. The play is often considered one of the major works in the “Theatre of the Absurd movement”.

Waiting for godot was Voted “the most significant English language play of the 20th century”, Waiting for Godot is Beckett’s translation of one of his older original French texts called Godot, and is subtitled (in English only) “a tragicomedy in two acts”. The original French text was composed between 9 October 1948, and 29 January 1949. The premiere was on 5 January 1953 in the Theatre de Babylonia. The original production was directed by Roger Blin, who also played the role of Pozzo. There is only one scene throughout both acts.

Two men are waiting on a country road by a tree. The script calls for Estragon to sit on a low mound, but in practice – as in Beckett’s own 1975 German production – this is usually a stone. In the first act the tree is bare. In the second, a few leaves have appeared despite the script specifying that it is the next day. I used this set description to place dead looking grass with a burnt dead tree in the middle of the set. There is also rock for Estragon and a gravel road through the middle, to show that the setting is in a place far away from natural life.

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