Waiting for who?

SILENT Faces are touring with their response to the insistence of the Beckett estate that the chacters in Beckett’s best known play, Waiting For Godot, cannot be played by women or non-binary actors.  The production, now touring the UK, is at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory from 28th June to 1st July.

It’s a peculiar ban because the very nature of Godot is its air of abstract unreality, the vague menace, the sense of a friendship with is at best tenuous, and the bizarre belief that Godot will come … tomorrow. Why, you might ask, can this only be acted by men?

Adventurous theatre company Silent Faces, a female and non-binary led integrated company of disabled and non-disabled artists, challenges the ​ban in this quick-witted and playful ​comedy by Josie Underwood, Cordelia Stevenson and Jack Wakely. The tour, running to September, folows a successful run at the Pleasance Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year.

Godot is a Woman interrogates permission, patriarchy and pop music, questioning the restrictive copyright law in a comical love/hate letter to British theatre with song, dance and plenty of multi-rolling.

Two people wait beneath a solitary tree on a country road – it’s a familiar scene, but this is not Waiting for Godot. Waiting for Godot was written by a man, for men, and Silent Faces aren’t men. So, what are they waiting for? It’s time to dig it all up and start again.

Madonna released Like a Prayer in 1989, the same year that Samuel Beckett died. The clowning triad explore the cultural significance of the album throughout the show, comically arguing that perhaps if the playwright had witnessed Madonna’s empowering confidence, he may not have forbidden anyone but men from performing his most acclaimed play.

​​​Writer and performer Cordelia Stevenson ​says: “Audiences can expect our usual clowning tomfoolery, plenty of theatre geekery and a bowler-hat-full of female pop icons.”