Fri 28 Mar
by Samuel Beckett
translated by Elmar Tophoven
Premiere 28. March 2025

On a country road in an indeterminate place at an indeterminate time, Vladimir and Estragon are waiting for Godot. They neither know who he is nor what they want from him. It is also unclear when, or if, he will arrive. They spend the time they are waiting having conversations to fill the silence, playing games that resemble everyday tasks, and with arguments that simulate meaning rather than consolation. Their monotony is interrupted by Pozzo, a master wielding a whip, and his servant Lucky, who performs dancing and thinking routines to order, and ends up in confused monologues that worship the downfall of reason. Few stage works call for interpretation as much as «Waiting for Godot» and have produced such a broad range of readings.

Samuel Beckett himself claimed: «I don’t know who Godot is. I also don’t know whether he exists. And I don’t know whether the two who are waiting for him believe in him or not.» When the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature wrote this modern classic and epitome of the theatre of the absurd in 1948, the atrocities of the Second World War were omnipresent and re-evaluating the Holocaust was a social taboo. The past of Vladimir and Estragon also remains entirely open: were they, like the author, in the résistance? Are they survivors of a (nuclear) disaster for whom there is nothing more remote than taking their fate in their own hands? Or do they both represent, in Estragon’s words, «humanity, whether we like it or not» – a humanity that is suffering from amnesia in order not to have to be aware of their own (collective) guilt?  Or do they merely prefer the dreariness of waiting to the necessity of doing something? Perhaps the play works in the way that Joachim Kaiser, one of the most influential theatre critics of his age, described and «everyone dreams their own dream of Beckett’s nightmare particle for themselves».

The director is Claudia Bauer, who has won a series of awards for her musical, slapstick-like productions and joins the Residenztheater as a resident director from the start of this season.

Artistic Direction

Direction Claudia Bauer
Stage Design Andreas Auerbach
Costume Design Vanessa Rust
Composition Michael Gumpinger
Dramaturgy Constanze Kargl