That's absurd

What do you mean Godot's not showing?

By Charles P. Pierce
February 27, 2011

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Dear Samuel Beckett Estate: Look, we have this state university, right? And it’s come a long, long way in terms of just about everything. Unfortunately, it’s still located in Amherst, deep in that part of the Commonwealth that those of us from Worcester like to call Out Where the Chipmunks Vote. (This is to compensate us for what people in Boston regularly call people in Worcester, which cannot be printed.) So, when word went out that our state university was going to put on a production of your man’s Waiting for Godot, staged in post-Katrina New Orleans, with two African-Americans stranded on a rooftop, it sounded like a) a really ingenious theatrical idea, and b) a chance to increase the intellectual content of the area by a factor of 2 1/2 Brusteins, as dramaturgic snobbery is usually measured. Alas, even though this unusual treatment of the classic had been performed elsewhere, you pulled your permission before it could go up in Amherst. This is something not even the Berkshires deserve. Portraying the aftermath of Katrina as something out of Beckett is the nicest literary reference – Waiting for Brownie? Waiting for Bottled Water? – I’ve heard concerning that situation. Usually, the author of choice is Kafka. Or Stephen King. I really hope it wasn’t because the production was in Amherst. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear there was someone from Worcester on your board.

Charles P. Pierce can be reached at

  • February 27, 2011 cover
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