As Chris and I sat on the sofa on Saturday morning planning our weekend, we came across an advert for Waiting for Godot showing at The Royal Haymarket Theatre. I read the play at some point during high school and remembered enjoying it. However, what really drew me to the play at this time was the opportunity to see Patrick Stewart (aka Captain Jean Luc Picard) and Ian McKellen (aka Gandolf the White) on the stage. It is not that I am a big Star Trek or Lord of the Rings fan. To be honest... I don't particularly care for Star Trek. But these are two well known names, not only on the screen but on the stage, and I had never seen a play with well know actors... so we scooped up the last remaining seats and made our way to Piccadilly Circus to catch the show.
Poor Chris... having never read the play and not having a clue what to expect... was lost after the first half! To be fair, Waiting for Godot is about 2 guys waiting... and that is really about it! There are all kinds of interpretations and theories but in the end I still think it is about 2 guys waiting. One critic said it is play about nothing, twice! The entire thing is set in one location and has only 5 characters one of who only speaks once! With that said, it is also said to be the most significant English language play of the 20th century. Chris, as usual, was a great sport and sat through the production and even laughed at the witty jokes. He and I agreed that Stewart and McKellen were amazing. They were so dedicated to the parts that I completely forgot their previous roles and believed they were the characters in the play. Reading about their careers in the program made me realize that they were so much more than their big screen personas as they have both had incredible (and long) careers in the stage in both London and New York.
The Royal Haymarket was also very impressive. Originally built in 1720 the current rendition was constructed next door to the original theater in 1820 and essentially looks the same as when the 1st play was staged in 1821! The chandelier was converted from gas light and is most impressive! Several of Oscar Wilde's plays were debuted here in the late 1800's. Vanessa Redgrave, Dame Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey (as an unknown actor), and Peter O'Toole are just a few of the names to have appeared on the Royal Haymarket's stage. I don't think I will ever get used to the history that lies in waiting around every corner in London!
To continue the theatre weekend, Chris and I are going to see Wicked at The Apollo Victoria Theatre tonight! Details to follow... Until then, XOXO