Perfectly faithful to Beckett and without intellectualizing, Alain Françon offers us an overwhelmingly human version of “Waiting for Godot” by Beckett. It’s at La Scala Paris, until April 8.
There is of course the dead tree and the rock imposed by Beckett. Alain Françon and his decorator Jacques Gabel have added a magnificent ash-coloured canvas in the background, where sky and earth merge. Appear Vladimir and Estragon, played by Gilles Privat and André Marcon, the two ragged men wear threadbare bowler hats, they are waiting for a man named Godot.
Two men, two tramps, miserable and out of time, but here, in this version by Alain Françon, comical and endearing. To deceive the waiting, the boredom and the hunger, they scolded each other, exchanging remarks sometimes down to earth, sometimes essential on life and on the passage of time.
Alain Françon’s art in this score so framed by the author is to give us to see and hear this text through the body and the acting with a thousand nuances of the actors. André Marcon is an earthy Tarragon, dependent and worried. Gilles Privat, under his air of a great stilt-walker about to take flight, knows, in his own way, to be reassuring by supporting his companion who otherwise would perhaps let himself die.
What is our role in this (Asks Estragon)
That of the substitutes
To this extend ?
As they wait for nightfall, Pozzo appears, the landowner holding his slave Lucky on a leash, crumbling under luggage: Guillaume Levêque and Eric Berger (who was Tanguy in Etienne Chatiliez’s film) form a burlesque and cruel duo. Shocked at first, Vladimir and Estragon end up getting used to this submissive relationship and the mistreatment that results from it.
Beckett’s genius is of course the sketch of these scraps of life to express all the fragility, absurdity and mystery of our human condition. Alain Françon adds an overwhelming humanity and tenderness. Estragon and Vladimir are bound by an unbreakable bond. Because these two can rely on each other, nothing is lost. In this version, they are right to hope.
“Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Alain Francon
La Scala Paris
13 Boulevard de Strasbourg, 75010 Paris
01 40 03 44 30