A few years back these two lovely gentlemen performed Waiting for Godot in London’s West End. Since I had planned a trip to London just before the play started and because it only had a short run, I have been regretting the fact that I hadn’t seen them together on stage.
When earlier this year the announcement came that they were doing another play together, I didn’t hesitate or even check which play they were doing, I bought two tickets to see the play and after doing that I asked if any of my friends would like to join me to make up a regret I had. I didn’t tell them what the regret was only that it was in London. That way none of my friends would jump at the names I was spouting but would genuinely be interested in doing anything I would suggest after that.
What to expect from a play by Harold Pinter? I really had no idea! I didn’t do any research, I went to see the play with an open mind. I just expected greatness, since these are two of the most iconic actors of their generation, loved by geeks of all ages.
It’s a single room/set for the whole play in which the story unfolds. It seems to be a drinking game between old friends. But one of them goes to bed, and the younger characters enter it does seem strange that their clothes are of different periods in time.
The room has a blue-ish tint and the furniture is scarce, there is a wingback chair, a couple of wooden chairs, a stocked bar and a side table.
The conversations between the characters of Stewart (Hirst) and McKellen(Spooner are about the past but in the beginning seem that they have just rekindled their friendship at a bar.It takes a long time before Spooner introduces himself to Hirst and them knowing eachother is a running joke throughout. Once Stewart leaves the scene, while mimicking chocking, drowning there seems to be more at hand.
Once Spooner is alone on set the other two characters enter and their clothes really represent times past. This was really clear for me. But they are trying to get Spooner to leave, they are wondering why he is here.
Throughout the play, the words “No man’s land” are uttered and drinks flow like it’s nothing. There really is a lot of drinking and pooring drinks throughout the play. In the first part it’s Vodka and Scotch. And this is according to me also one of the clues about the story.
There is a lot of inuendo during the play and it’s kinda funny to see it uttered by Ian McKellen. I think he really enjoys those words though.
Now for the clue, according to me and my friend (since we came to the same conclusion), this play is the memory of a man drowning. He’s revisiting people in his past. Hirst being someone from his yought as they are approximately the same age. The other 2 (Forster & Briggs) are people he met later on about 30/40 years ago as they are younger than Hirst. He is barganing to survive in the same time and all the drinking really represents the drowning. This is a personal opinion!
As in making up my regret from a those years ago, this really worked to do that. I can now say I’ve seen two of the greatest actors of their generation live on stage together (I had already seen Patrick Stewart before in Hamlet) and their interaction together really is fantastic. Would I get tickets again if they decide to do another play. If I’m capable to, in a heartbeat!