Waiting for Godot

Show in BDP (Beogradsko Dramsko Pozoriste) Beograd – Serbia

Show in Budva – Montenegro

The famous drama of Samuel Becket, considered by many to be the most important theater piece of the 20th century in English language, was staged in 1991 in the Belgrade Drama Theater. It was directed by Haris Pašović and featured a number of most celebrated Yugoslav actors of the time (Miki Manojlović, Miodrag Krivokapić, Žarko Laušević, and Slavko Štimac). As a stage designer I felt that this production of “Waiting for Godot” demanded scenography that would correspond to both minimalistic approach of the author and multilayered structure of his masterpiece. 

The scene was set on an elevated wooden platform whose sides were lined with semi-transparent cloth inscribed with letter-like symbols. Once the lights placed under the structure were turned on, those signs would become prominent and their incomprehensible meaning contribute to the “elusive plot” of the entire play. With difused illumination coming from beneath the stage, the scene would appear as suspended in the air, hovering above everyday reality. The props included only a chair, an old suitcase, and a rope. However, the focal place on the stage was occupied by a miniature tree, planted upside down so that its roots were taking the role of a tree’s crown, branching above the ground, and their shadows were projected on the surrounding walls, behind the actors. This minimal and somewhat paradoxical stage design followed the spirit of Becket’s drama, emphasizing its impenetrable storyline and lack of determinants that would situate the narrative in some definite space or time.

The play “Waiting for Godot” was also performed at the “Theater City” festival in Budva (Montenegro), on a magnificent open stage, in 1991 – on the eve of the war in the Balkans.

What an ironic twist of fate!