Tonight I had the great good fortune to see old friends, Jenny O'Hara and her husband, Nick Ullett. Jenny is the first recipient of the coveted though never before awarded Sheehan Prize for her outstanding work as an actor in the recent Fountain Theatre production of "Daniel's Husband" as well as creating the role of the loopy lady in Stephen Sachs' "Bakersfield Mist." Seeing the Ulletts was just a bonus to seeing this terrific show at the Broadwater. Jenny is up for some Ovation Awards, so I decided to just scoop them and laud her first! Congratulations, Jenny O'Hara!
Having reviewed Bill Irwin's "On Beckett" at the Kirk Douglas recently and being a fan of Waiting for Godot, I arrived ready to be entertained. Just the premise made me smile. Understudies on hand, in costume (more or less) andwaiting for their opportunity to shine.
Playwright, Dave Hanson's script, has captured the essence of the original Godot. (Irwin pronounces it "God O"). The understudies Bruno Oliver as Ester and Joe Hernandez-Kolski as Val present pretty much as Laurel and Hardy and then chew the scenery in various ways, moving their essence of Godot along with similar angst. These actors await The Director to show up to tell them it's their turn to go on. Val's Aunt Mary has come to every performance to support him and Val so wants to make her proud. The actors wait. They don't go on. They should go. They stay.
|(L to R) Joe Hernandez-Kolski and Bruno Oliver. Photo by Jessica Sherman Photography|
Banter and hijinx prevail without a hitch including some Buster Keaton moves with a way too small vest that vexs Ester throughout the show.
We are taken to school by the intrusion of ASM (assistant stage manager) Laura (deliberately low key Julie Marcino) who basically declares that actors are simply "deaf puppets" who become tools to the wonderfulness of what she does: calling the show! To demonstrate how easy 'acting' is, Laura reads light cues to bring home the fact that backstage is equally important to those on the stage who strut and bellow.
To demonstrate how an "actor prepares", Ester first becomes a gorilla: declaring that Brando may have prepared in a similar way, emerging as Kowalski. then On the Waterfront, romping through the gamut of not only many of Brando's roles, but famous lines from every movie you have ever seen in your life and then some. Brilliant.
I have a special place in my heart for store front theatre. The mostly grubby 'Theatre Row" area on Santa Monica west of Vine hosts speeding drivers laying rubber; honking impatiently from time to time. But!... inside: the temple: the exposed brick wall. The set by Aaron Francis, I was told, is the actual dressing room from the original Heliotrope Theatre that Sacred Fools used when founding the company. Director Jacob Sidney has this essentially two hander well under control as it bustles a pace. This tight full length one act will charm fans of Samuel Beckett with familiar references and might introduce Godot to folks who may not have heard the good news.
WFWFGodot is a must see. Parking is tough. The corner of Lillian and Santa Monica may have a number of productions going on at the same time, so plan to go early. The fancy bar on the corner looks terrific.
WAITING FOR WAITNG FOR GODOT
by Dave Hanson
West Coast premiere
Broadwater Second Stage
Lillian and Santa Monica
Hollywood, CA 90038
Through December 14, 2019
Tickets and Information
All tickets $15.00.. period.