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Review: Hang around for this 'Waiting for Godot'

Relax. There will be no attempt to synopsize what happens in Samuel Beckett’s masterwork “Waiting for Godot” in this review.

Scholars have written volumes on the meaning of this play about meaninglessness being staged by Evening Star Productions in Boca Raton. A quick Google search will get you the basics, which are tricky to convey within these confines. Suffice to say that this existential tragicomedy follows the symbiotic relationship between two vagabonds, Estragon (Seth Trucks) and Vladimir (Lito Becerra), who are waiting for, well, you know.

Firmly ensconced in the Theater of the Absurd, the play is a study of those two men dabbling in a bit of philosophical pondering, nibbling on vegetables, sharing fuzzy recollections, intermittently arguing, contemplating suicide and engaging in physical humor right out of the Laurel and Hardy school of comedy. You almost expect one of them to say, “Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into” as they consider the dystopian set of crumbling brick walls, iron girders and a bare-as-bones tree.

Beckett implies that these actions have been going on for some time, over and over, like “Groundhog Day.” To underline that, he has a boy (Carsten Kjaerulff) come on to tell Estragon and Vladimir that Godot will not make it today, but surely will come tomorrow. And it is also suggested that they have had repeated visits from the arrogant Pozzo (Skye Whitcomb) and his slave Lucky (Christopher Mitchell), although no one seems really sure.

The futility sinks in even though director Rosalie Grant seems to have shrewdly buffed up the comedy. And this cast is up to riding the flows and ebbs, tuning in to the subtle shifts of frequency and rhythm of the caustic interplay for much of the two hours and 15 minutes (with a 15-minute intermission). The actors are pointedly and calculatingly hammy, giving the language a fine flourish in what is, in the final analysis, a very fine and controlled performance.

What’s it all about? Cue the academics. But Evening Star Productions, the professional arm of Sol Children Theatre, has timed their version well. In these times of political and social upheaval, 64 years after first being staged in Paris, “Waiting for Godot” still has punch.

“Waiting for Godot” is running through May 7 at the Sol Theatre, 3333 N. Federal Highway, in Boca Raton. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, with 2 p.m. matinees Sundays. Tickets cost $30 ($20 for students). To order, call 561-447-8829 or go to EveningStarProductions.

rhagwood@southflorida.com

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