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GODOT

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Wilson (left) and Duncan star at The Vanguard Wilson (left) and Duncan star at The Vanguard

However you pronounce it, Godot is a stage phenomenon. In 2013 I made a special trip to New York City to see the two great knights of the British stage (Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan) perform Waiting for Godot on Broadway.

Audiences here in Ft. Lauderdale only have to travel to The Vanguard Theatre on Andrews Ave. to see a comic riff on the play. Entitled Waiting for Waiting for Godot, it centers around two hapless understudies waiting backstage for one of the principal actors to get sick or get fired so they can delight the audience with their skills.

If you like Laurel and Hardy you will love this play. Scott Douglas Wilson and Mark Duncan utilise basic elements of the slapstick comedic skills of the great comedy duo to infuse their interpretation of this play by Dave Hanson. The play won the overall excellence award in the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival.

The two male actors and the female character played by Vanessa Elise are all very accomplished in their own right. Vanessa just won a Silver Palm award for Outstanding New Talent, Scott has an MFA in acting and Mark is associate professor of performing and visual arts at Nova Southeastern University. Both gentlemen are associated with the production company at the Vanguard, Thinking Cap Theatre.

There are some great one-liners in the play about the craft of acting.

“A true artist must believe in himself above all else.”

“Acting is difficult - an actor never should be.”

“We must all suffer for our art.”

Certain elements of the play were overdone, such as the numerous attempts to fit into a vest and the much too lengthy back-and-forth repetition of lines between the two lead actors. At 80 minutes, it was actually a bit too long and would benefit from judicious pruning, but all three actors stuck with it and delivered a brilliant performance.

Early in the play one actor says of Waiting for Godot “This is a very difficult show to do. No one even knows what it means.” While this play at Vanguard does not possess the existential depth of Waiting for Godot, its meaning seems less opaque.

Unless of course you want to ask what Rosebud means.

To find out what I am referring to, you will have to make the short trip to The Vanguard. Tickets are at www.vanguardarts.org.  It runs thru Sept. 13, 2015.

The next play, beginning October 1, is A Map of Virtue.

Clifford Cunningham

Dr. Clifford Cunningham is a planetary scientist. He earned his PhD in the history of astronomy at the University of Southern Queensland, and has undergraduate degrees in science and ancient history from the University of Waterloo. In 2014 he was named a contributor to Encyclopedia Britannica. He is the author of 14 books on asteroids and the history of science. In 1999 he appeared on the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Asteroid 4276 was named in his honor in 1990 by the International Astronomical Union based on the recommendation of its bureau located at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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