Waiting for Godot at The Jungle Theater
Nathan Keepers (right) and Jim Lichtscheidl are the perfect tragicomic duo.
It may not sound like summer fare, but Jungle Theater artistic director Bain Boehlke is going ahead and staging Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in August—a play he knows many people hate. “They think it’s dark and morose,” Boehlke says. “That’s not my plan at all. It has a Laurel and Hardy aspect to it. They were actually favorites of Beckett’s.”
In other words, others can dwell on the gloom—he’s going for laughs.
This is the second time Boehlke has directed Godot at the Jungle. He’s been planning it for several years, though, ever since hearing two of the Twin Cities’ most gifted comic actors, Nathan Keepers and Jim Lichtscheidl, do a reading of a different play. “Their chemistry together made me think of it immediately,” Boehlke says.
Beckett wrote Godot in response to the destruction of Europe during World War II. A member of the French Resistance, Beckett had plenty of experience waiting endlessly—and not knowing whom he was waiting for. Boehlke is quick to dismiss the common notion that Godot means, allegorically, they are waiting for God. “The original French title is En attendant Godot,” he explains. “The French word for god is dieu. It had nothing to do with God.”
Rather, Boehlke sees the play as an authentic look at life. “It’s easy for productions to fall on the dark, vicious side. When you have the courage to see truthfully, it’s a tragicomedy,” he says. “Life is full of absurd behavior and elements of farce. I want to play to that generosity of spirit.” Aug. 24–Sept. 30. 2951 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-822-7063, jungletheater.com