The Wait is Over: Playing the "Endgame" with Godot | Culture | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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The Wait is Over: Playing the "Endgame" with Godot 

click to enlarge DAN SALAMIDA
  • Dan Salamida

Ever leave a play or movie with a nagging sense that you didn’t get the ending? Or maybe you got it, but it still didn’t provide that all-important sense of closure. You know it doesn’t really matter, but questions still nag at you: Did the hero get the girl? Is the guy in the hockey mask really dead? Is Darth really Luke’s father?

Irish playwright Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, considered a masterpiece of the modern theater, has given many theatergoers that feeling since its premiere in 1952. With the Vermont Stage Company set to bring Beckett’s play to FlynnSpace over the next two weeks, we offer here a few endings to resolve any dramatic conflicts haunting you after the play. Cut out the scripts, tuck them in your pocket and perform them after the play, when and if the need for closure arises.

Our story thus far… Estragon and Vladimir have been waiting for Godot. Waiting, waiting, waiting. During this time they have met Pozzo and Lucky, who demonstrated a range of bad behaviors, then exited. A boy has also periodically appeared on stage, acting as messenger for Godot. The message: Godot will be right along. At the close of the play’s final scene, Estragon and Vladimir are onstage. Alone.


THE SAD ENDING

Vladimir: Well? Shall we go?

Estragon: Yes, let’s go.

They do not move. George W. Bush enters wearing his “play clothes” — flannel shirt, blue jeans, barn jacket, gauze patch over right cheek.

George: Hiya.

Estragon and Vladimir: Good evening.

George: Either of you guys Andersen?

Estragon: He’s Vladimir.

Vladimir: And he’s Estragon.

George: I was sent to find a feller named Andersen.

Estragon: Sent by whom?

Vladimir: Mr. Godot?

George: I don’t know about any feller name of Godot. Uncle Dick — Dick Cheney — said to go find this friend of his, Arthur Andersen.

Estragon: So you are not Godot?

George: (with boorish pride) Hell, no! I am most certainly not no Godot and, even more furthermorely, I have been sent on a very important mission by the Vice President of the United States himself, Richard Cheney.

Vladimir: And this man you are looking for, Andersen, what is his role in all this?

George: That, my friend, is information given on a strictly need-to-know basis. And I don’t need to know. All I know is, Uncle Dick is madder’n a hat full of hornets.

Estragon: You don’t say so.

George: Ho-ho, yes, though.

Vladimir: We’re waiting for Godot.

George: Godot? Where have I heard that name before? He work for Enron? (sneering) He in Al Qaeda?

Estragon: We mentioned him a few moments ago.

George: That’s it!

Vladimir: (with despair) It seems we are to wait further still.

Estragon: (reaching into his pocket) Would you like something to eat while we wait? I have these bones Pozzo gave me.

Vladimir: No, thank you.

Estragon: (to George) You, sir?

George: (reaching for the bone) Don’t mind if I do. Little snacky-snack never hurt no one, right?

George begins gnawing on a bone only to choke moments later. Neither Estragon nor Vladimir move to help him as he stumbles about the stage then falls, landing on his already injured cheek. Fudge! (more deliriously) That smarts more’n a swift kick in the pants from Jim Jeffords. (Weakly, just before passing out) Mommy…

Curtain.


THE SURPRISE ENDING

Vladimir: Well? Shall we go?

Estragon: Yes, let’s go.

They do not move. Elvis Presley enters wearing his Vegas-era threads — white, high-collared jumpsuit and matching cape, gold-rimmed sunglasses, muttonchops.

Elvis: How y’all doin’ tonight?

Estragon and Vladimir: Good evening.

Vladimir: My! What clothes!

Elvis: Thankyouverymuch.

Estragon: Would you, by any chance, be Mr. Godot?

Elvis: Son, you are looking at the King!

Vladimir: So you are Godot?

Elvis pauses, as if to consider the matter, then strikes a Vegas-era pose — knees bent, arms cutting through the air in karate-like gestures, cape billowing.

Estragon: We’ve been waiting a seeming eternity for your arrival.

Elvis: Thankyouverymuch. So, what can I do for you?

Estragon and Vladimir exchanged puzzled looks.

Vladimir: Well, we thought the question would be the other way around.

Elvis: Come again, son?

Estragon: What he means is that we thought you would request something of us.

Elvis: Hell, son, I take requests, from Queen Elizabeth to Dick Nixon, but I don’t make requests. Except, of course, fried bananas and peanut butter at midnight! He whoops loudly and strikes another pose.

Vladimir (to Estragon): What shall we do now?

Estragon (shrugging): I do not know, but the wait is over.

Elvis: (in his own world) Damn, I am having a good time! It is a balmy night in Las Vegas!

Vladimir: If it is in fact over, what does it mean?

Estragon: I think it means the King is here and he doesn’t know what is going on.

Vladimir: Well, what do we do, then?

Elvis: I don’t know ’bout you fellas, but I am on my way to Graceland.

Vladimir and Estragon: (perplexed) Graceland?

Elvis: Memphis, Tennessee. Ow! Elvis strikes his curtain-call pose, down on one knee, head bowed.

Curtain.


THE HAPPY ENDING

Vladimir: Well? Shall we go?

Estragon: Yes, let’s go.

They do not move.

Estragon: I can’t go on like this.

Vladimir: That’s what you think.

Estragon: What do you mean by that?

Vladimir: I mean that perhaps we don’t need Mr. Godot at all.

Estragon: But what could it mean, then, all this waiting?

Vladimir: It means that all we ever really needed was ourselves.

Estragon: Ourselves? But what do we have, aside from, well… (gesturing to the tree) …the tree over there?

Vladimir: And what does Mr. Godot have that we don’t? We have blood in our veins and strength in our limbs — and voices that sing their own truth!

Estragon: But surely Mr. Godot has more than that.

Vladimir: I’m suggesting that he does not — that we, you and I, have fashioned Mr. Godot to suit our needs and nothing more. He serves to justify our long wait, but, in the end, provides us with no answers, no truth to which we can cling.

Estragon: (coming around) You know, I think it was Ambrose Bierce who once wrote, “Self-denial is indulgence of a propensity to forego.”

Vladimir: Exactly. We wait and wring our hands, and for what? For the far-flung possibility that there might be more later.

Estragon: Carpe diem.

Vladimir: Now you’ve got it. Let’s get the boy, cut down this tree, grab some marshmallows and have a bonfire.

Estragon: To hell with Mr. Godot!

Estragon and Vladimir: Hurray!

Curtain.

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About The Authors

David Englander

Erik Esckilsen

Erik Esckilsen

Bio:
Erik Esckilsen is a contributing writer for Seven Days and Kids Vermont. He is also a professor of rhetoric and digital storytelling at Champlain College.

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