As the idea of studying set design was finding its way into my mind, I started thinking of making projects on different literary works. I’ve always wanted to create something based on favourite works such as The Old Man and the Sea or Big Two-Hearted River, both by Ernest Hemingway, but none of my ideas have been good enough to outline these works fully in their light. Then I was fortunate enough to find the tragicomedy Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett and to be able to understand it in my own, I’d like to say, profound way.
Waiting for Godot qualifies as one of Samuel Beckett’s most famous works. Originally written in French in 1948, Beckett personally translated the play into English. The world premiere was held on January 5, 1953, in the Left Bank Theater of Babylon in Paris. The play’s reputation spread slowly through word of mouth and it soon became quite famous. Other productions around the world rapidly followed.
The chronotopos of the story is in the evening on a country road with a single tree present. This play describes two at first identical days in the lives of Estragon and Vladimir. It is unclear to me whether these two days are significant or just everyday life. I find that everything is moving very monotonously and in a similar way the characters do not seem very different in each of the two scenes. Beckett often focused on the idea of “the suffering of being.” Most of the play deals with the fact that Estragon and Vladimir are waiting for something to alleviate their boredom, namely a person called Godot, of whose personality no one is aware of. Godot can be understood as one of the many things in life that people wait for.
Waiting for Godot is part of the Theater of the Absurd so it is meant to be irrational. The absurdity of everything was really the thing that gave me the freedom to escape the frames of the story and to change some things a little bit.
As I already mentioned, the story takes place on a desolete road around the only thriving tree around. Then again, the characters talk a lot about the moon. Therefore I chose the moon as a location of my model because I think it is likely that in their head one of the characters finds themselves on the moon. The nonsense of the play led me to that thought. The story had surprised me a lot of times while reading it so it left me with the feeling that everything can be expected from the characters (except for sanity 🙂 )
Unsure whether because of boredom, disturbing thoughts or a feeling I couldn’t catch, I noticed that Estragon and Vladimir decide every once in a while that they should hang themselves on the tree if Godot continues to hide himself. They decide to take a rope the next time they go to the tree just in case they really need it. That is why I chose rope as the main material for the model, as you can see in the picture.
The process of modelling
It is safe to say that this was one of the most interesting projects I have ever done. The research I did was one of the best parts of all as I stumbled upon so many great works based on the play. Here are some of the ones I found the most gripping:
Here is the sketch for the model:
The new technique I explored with was papier mache when making the moon. I also had to learn how to tie a hangman’s noose because I decided to make some changes in the model and actually the story, as well. These are the materials I used and the first stage of the model.
The idea behind the making of Estragon and Vladimir
Estragon is one of the two protagonists. Vladimir calls him Gogo. He seems weak and helpless, always looking for Vladimir’s protection. He has no memory beyond what is immediately said to him, and relies on Vladimir to remember for him. Estragon is impatient and constantly wants to leave Vladimir, but is restrained from leaving by the fact that he needs Vladimir. It is Estragon’s idea to pass their time by hanging themselves. Estragon has been compared to a body without an intellect, which therefore needs Vladimir to provide the intellect.
In my mind Estragon is unstable, hesitant and labile and these traits make him difficult to be understood. Creating him as an anchor is a symbol of his inabilty to move forward because of the qualities he mainly shows.
However, Vladimir does not show any sings that it is hard to take care of Estragon. He seems to be the more responsible and mature of the two main characters.
As a whole, this project was definitely worth it because I was given the opportunity to expand my knowledge in this aspect of literature.
Have you had any experiences connected with Waiting for Godot or just want to say something about the play? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment!