VALLEJO — Clinton Vidal was a teen when he first encountered Samuel Beckett’s play, “Waiting for Godot.” When intermission arrived, the burning question was, “Is this guy going to show up?”
When the play was over, Vidal wondered what he had seen.
As he aged and explored theater on a much deeper level, Vidal said he’s come to understand the two-act tragicomedy.
Penned in the late 1940s, Vidal said “Waiting for Godot” is timeless.
“It’s a metaphor for life,” he said. “We are all waiting for something.”
Vidal is directing the show for Bay Area Stage Productions. Since the original casting, he had to replace about three roles in the five-member cast.
The actor playing one of the two leads, Vladimir, was hit by a car while crossing the street.
“We had to shut down for a week and audition for Vladimir again,” Vidal said. The roles of Lucky and Pozzo also had to be recast.
The cast is what carries the show, he said. The play is about two hours long and there is no villain or hero. The action is the script.
“You’ve got to make it entertaining to watch,” Vidal said. It can be a bit of a challenge, since Beckett included some pregnant pauses in the show.
“It builds suspense,” Vidal said of the silence. “Then, you get the payoff.”
Set on an old country road, “Waiting for Godot” serves as a reminder that we are all here for a finite time, Vidal said.
Vidal has directed for the Benicia Old Town Theatre Group and is preparing for Vallejo’s Shakespeare play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” slated for July.
He’s also connected with an emerging theater group hoping to do “12 Angry Men” in the fall.
Chris Mantione, a Vacaville resident, is handling the role of Vladimir. It’s his first time working with Bay Area Stage and his first Samuel Beckett play.
Vladimir is interesting, he said.
“He is a bit of a chameleon,” Mantione said. “Over the course of the show, he starts to slip.
“I think there’s a piece of my personality in there.”
When James Adams, a Vallejo resident, shows up on stage opening night, he’ll have about two weeks of rehearsals behind him. He plays Lucky, a slave to Pozzo.
Adams was originally selected as the understudy, but moved up when the other actor left the show. For him, it’s all about the joy of working with seasoned performers.
There’s also the fact that he doesn’t have to sing, as he’s been cast in musicals prior.
When the show wraps up, Adams will go where the next role is.
“You haven’t seen the last of me yet,” he said.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.