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A SHOW ABOUT NOTHING, WITHOUT COMMERCIALS.

Byline: Julio Martinez Correspondent

FIRST PRODUCED in 1953, Samuel Beckett's absurdist tragicomedy ``Waiting for Godot'' is quite easy to understand. There is no plot, only characters that idle away their lives waiting for something to happen to them. In the course of their waiting, they discuss many irrelevant things that lead nowhere. It is a kind of pre-``Seinfeld'' exercise in deliberate tedium.

The theatrical pizazz is supplied by the richness of the characterizations and the ability of the director to string their interactions into a viable dramatic through line. As staged by producer/director K. Douglas McKennon, both of these elements are lacking in this visiting production at NoHo's American Renegade Theatre. That only leaves the tedium.

Beckett has distilled the plight of modern Western civilization into the aimless interactions of Vladimir (Sean Allen Scott) and Estragon (J. Patrick Wade), two hobos who wait by the side of the road next to a tree. They cannot make any decisions about themselves or life in general because they have committed themselves to waiting for Godot, a mysterious savior who never arrives but always sends his Boy (Luis Fernandez-Gil) to inform our intrepid duo that he will certainly be here tomorrow. This has been going on for 50 years.

The only diversions Vladimir and Estragon enjoy are their intermittent glimpses into the lives of the ruling and subjugated classes as represented by pompous plutocrat Pozzo (Kevin C. Carr) and his wheezing, overburdened slave Lucky (Alberto E. Apodaca). Their arrivals and departures in acts one and two don't affect the lives of Vladimir and Estragon at all, but as Estragon sagely observes, it does ``help to pass the time.''

Wade's Estragon and Jones' Vladimir cannot be faulted for their memorization. They have the dialogue down perfectly and do communicate a sense of easy camaraderie between these two lost souls. What is missing is personality. In order for an audience to transcend Beckett's meandering dialogue and enjoy the predicament, Estragon and Vladimir need to be enjoyable for their own sake, not for what they say.

The memorable duos of Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello come to mind. Carr is much more successful with Pozzo, a strutting bantam cock who takes everything as his due. He effectively communicates Pozzo's disdain for Lucky because the slave seeks his own subjugation. One of the highlights of the production occurs when Pozzo shows why it is unwise to allow the slave class to have a voice. Apodaca's Lucky takes off on a three-minute monologue of obtuse
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Title Annotation:Review; U
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 15, 2003
Words:490
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