Behind-the-scenes Q & A with the cast of the HUB's ‘Waiting for Waiting for Godot’

Behind-the-scenes Q & A with the cast of the HUB's ‘Waiting for Waiting for Godot’

Angelica Potter

Opening this weekend at Club Café is Hub Theatre Company of Boston’s production of ‘Waiting for Waiting for Godot’ by Dave Hanson. Directed by Paula Plum, the production runs Friday, July 14 through Saturday, July 29 at Club Café, 209 Columbus Avenue in Boston’s Back Bay. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm. All performances are Pay-What-You-Can and donations of non-perishable food items will be collected at all performances for local charities. For tickets and more information visit www.hubtheatreboston.org.  

The play follows a pair of devoted understudies, Ester and Val, as they ponder art, life and theatre. Each night they wait, wondering if tonight will be the night they get to go on stage and hopefully have their big break. This madcap comedy pays hysterical homage to Samuel Beckett’s classic drama and makes its Boston debut after critically acclaimed runs in both New York and London. It is being promoted as a show for theatre lovers and haters alike. In this interview, I was able to hear from two of the cast members about the play, the rehearsal process, and more. Lauren Elias (shown below as LE) plays the stage manager Laura, and Rob Orzalli (shown below as RO) plays Ester.

Q: How is this play relevant in today's society? 

(LE): There is so much turmoil and despair in our community at the present time that I feel now, more than ever, people need a place to come for 90 minutes and laugh and celebrate life.

(RO): "What's the point of anything?" - one of the lines in the show. In addition to the humor, some of the existential ideas from the original remain here if you pay attention :)

Q: What drew you to this play when you first read it? 

(LE): What I loved right away was that I found it absolutely hysterical- I was actually laughing out loud as I read it. Later, the more we delved into the language of the play and the development of the characters, the more I recognized how much heart and love there is in this play.

(RO): This play is so smart: there are so many levels! I think it's written in a way that is accessible and funny to everyone, regardless of how much they know about theater or the source material. The more you know, the more jokes and references you get, but everyone can enjoy it. I myself had not read or seen Waiting for Godot before we started rehearsals, and I found the play laugh-out-loud funny on the page.

Q: How is this play different from the other shows in Hub Theatre Company’s season? What makes it stand out?

(LE): Well, our last show (Coyote on a Fence) was a compelling drama about two death-row inmates and the play before that was a heart wrenching yet heartwarming drama about a woman dying of ovarian cancer (Wit) so I think we were ready for some serious fun! (pun intended).

(RO): Compared to the last show, Coyote on a Fence, this play could almost not be more different: drama v. comedy, realism v. non, new play v. known work, etc. Compared to our next show, Robyn is Happy which is a very Sex and the City type humor, this show is a very different kind of vaudevillian humor.

Q: When you auditioned for this show, what was the biggest factor that made you want to be a part of it? 

(RO): Working with Paula was a huge reason I wanted to work on this show. I had worked with her as a stage manager before but not as an actor, so I know how well she works with actors to get the best performance possible. She is also a genius at comedy, so I knew this show was in her wheelhouse to direct! 

Q: When someone asks you what show you’re currently working on, how do you describe this play to them?

(LE): As a hysterical love-letter to theatre.

(RO): I give the premise of two understudies waiting to find out if they will go on in a production of Waiting for Godot. I usually expand to say it's largely a two-person show that is utterly ridiculous and hilarious.

Q: What is your favorite scene or line? 

(LE): While the show is littered with fabulously funny scenes, my absolute favorite moment is when Rob's character has this amazingly heartfelt monologue at the end of the play about what it means to be an artist (we call it the "what I did for love" monologue.) It gets me every time I hear it.

(RO): My favorite scene/sequence in the show is when Ester is "teaching" Val about acting. There are lots of acting inside jokes in the scene, but I think it is also genuinely hilarious, even if you don't get the Meisner reference.

Q: What is your favorite characteristic of your character?

(LE): Her practicality and her wit.

(RO): Confidence. For most of the play, Ester is exceedingly confident in himself and his place in the world. I admire that self-assuredness (even if it may be foolhardy in this particular case).

Q: How are you and your character similar? How are you different?  

(LE): I can be pretty blunt when I have to be but Laura takes it to a whole new level!

(RO): I feel I share Ester's ability to hope in all circumstances and his efforts to stay positive at all costs. I'd like to think I don't have his braggadocio.

Q: What parts of this story do you think the audience will relate to most? What will resonate most with audiences? 

(LE): I think anyone who has ever waited in the wings, anyone who has ever tread the boards, or truly, anyone who has ever waited for anything, will readily relate to the characters' experiences, not to mention anyone who loves theatre and anyone who loves to laugh.

(RO): Everyone knows what it is like to wait: Whether it's the everyday waiting, like for the T or the work day to end, or the long term waits, like waiting for "the one" or the right job. This play gives action to that feeling of waiting and the hope that can be found in waiting.

Q: Why should audiences come see this play? 

(LE): Because what more could you want from a summer night in Boston than the chance to enjoy a good drink (or two) while watching a fantastic play!

(RO): It is hilarious. 

Special thanks to Lauren and Rob for taking the time to give us a behind-the-scenes look at their upcoming production of ‘Waiting for Waiting for Godot’. The show runs approximately 90 minutes with one 10 minute intermission and is suitable for an adult audience. ©

Just a reminder: Performances are Friday, July 14 through Saturday, July 29 at Club Café 209 Columbus Avenue in Boston’s Back Bay and are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm. All performances are Pay-What-You-Can and donations of non-perishable food items will be collected at all performances for local charities. Tickets are Pay-what-you-can for all performances. For more information or to purchase tickets online visit: www.hubtheatreboston.org

For more of my reviews and theatrical thoughts check out: http://intheatresome1isalwayswatching.blogspot.com/

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