Waiting for Godot press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MARIN THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS

SAMUEL BECKETT'S WAITING FOR GODOT

TALENTED CAST, FEATURING
OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL’S MARK BEDARD,
BAY AREA FAVORITES JAMES CARPENTER
AND MARK ANDERSON PHILLIPS,
AND CIRQUE DU SOLIEL VETERAN BEN JOHNSON,
TAKES ON THIS INFLUENTIAL AND WITTY MODERN CLASSIC;
DIRECTED BY AWARD-WINNER JASSON MINADAKIS

January 24 – February 17, 2012 | Opening Night: January 29

MILL VALLEY, CA—Marin Theatre Company begins 2013 and the second half of its critically acclaimed 46th Season with Samuel Beckett's modern classic, Waiting for Godot, which runs from January 24 to February 17. MTC’s artistic director Jasson Minadakis directs, returning to “this greatest of 20th-century plays” (The New York Times) over a decade after he first directed an “excellent, electrifying” (The Cincinnati Enquirer) production at Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival. MTC’s production features a talented cast: Oregon Shakespeare Festival company member Mark Bedard, popular Bay Area actors James Carpenter and Mark Anderson Philips and Cirque du Soliel and Ringling Bros. clown Ben Johnson, as well as two local southern Marin youths. Opening night is on Tuesday, January 29.

“I am excited to be returning to Waiting for Godot,” Minadakis said. “It’s one of my favorite – if not my favorite – play. In fact, it’s a large part of the reason I fell in love with the theater. When I last directed the play in 2000, I promised myself I would return to it every decade. Of course, first I needed to find a cast I wanted to re-explore this play with. A few years ago, I saw Mark Bedard’s work for the first time at OSF in a legendary performance of Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters and I knew I wanted to work with him in my next Godot. Then, two seasons ago, I found Mark Anderson Phillips fooling around with his shoes during rehearsal for Tiny Alice and I immediately saw him as Estragon. It was then that I knew I had Beckett’s two clowns.”

The play follows Didi and Gogo as they dally by the side of the road. They are expecting the imminent arrival of another man. They’ve asked this man for nothing very definite, but eagerly anticipate his reply. And though they admit that they do not know him well and won’t even recognize him when they see him, they wait. They wait for Godot. Voted most significant English language play of the 20th century by 800 playwrights, actors, directors and journalists in a poll by the Royal National Theatre, Waiting for Godot remains, after innumerable productions worldwide over the past 60 years, “a witty and poetic conundrum” (The Guardian), “humorous and deeply human” (The Press), “entertainment of a high order ” (NY Times) and “something that will securely lodge in a corner of your mind for as long as you live” (The Sunday Times).

Originally written by playwright Samuel Beckett in French in the late 1940s, En attendant Godot premiered on January 5, 1953, at the 233-seat Théâtre de Babylone in Paris, a year after an abridged version of the play was performed at the Club d’Essai de la Radio’s studio for broadcast on French radio. The play’s first two translations were in German, one by Elmer Tophoven (in collaboration with Beckett) and one by an anonymous inmate at Remscheid prison in Lüttringhausen. The German premiere of Warten auf Godot was September 8, 1953, at Schlosspark-theater in Berlin (the inmate’s version premiered on November 29, 1953, at the prison). The English version of the play, which Beckett translated himself, premiered on August 3, 1955, at the Arts Theatre in London and, later, transferred to the Criterion Theatre in the West End (though the play was heavily censored by the lord chamberlain after it transferred to the publicly owned and operated theater). Waiting for Godot received its US premiere on January 3, 1956, at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida, with its Broadway premiere following in April of that same year.

With each of its premieres, Godot faced audience controversy (which fueled strong ticket sales and more productions) and mixed critical response with The Sunday Times championing the play as “insidiously exciting” and The New York Times highlighting the excellent performances in an otherwise “puzzling… uneventful, maundering, loquacious drama.” Turning 60 years old this month (January 2013), Godot has since become Beckett’s most successful play and is often produced. Two of the more notable recent revivals both occurred in 2009 – one on London’s West End with Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart and one on Broadway with Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin. Recent Bay Area productions include Tides Theatre (2011), THEOFFCENTER (2010) and A.C.T. (2003). Director Peter Hall, who directed the London premiere of Godot, said of the play’s legacy in 2005:

Waiting for Godot hasn't dated at all. It remains a masterpiece transcending all barriers and all nationalities. And it could have been written today: there is nothing of the 50s about it. It is the start of modern drama and it gave the theatre back its metaphorical power. Godot challenged and then removed 100 years of literal naturalism where a room could only be considered a room if it was presented in full detail with the fourth wall removed.

MTC’s artistic director Jasson Minadakis directs this production of Waiting for Godot. He won the 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for best director (Equivocation) and was nominated in the same category in 2011 (The Glass Menagerie). Minadakis previously directed the play for Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, which he co-founded and served as producing artistic director. The Cincinnati Enquirer called the production “the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival’s most flawless production ever, and it is the outstanding smaller theater production of 1999,” saying, “Minadakis’s direction is masterful. He gets everything right, including the long, thinking pauses. Silence isn’t just golden. It’s funny and nerve-wracking.”

MTC’s production of Waiting for Godot features the return of Bay Area actors James Carpenter (9 Circles, Two for the Seesaw) and Mark Anderson Philips (Edward Albee’s Tiny Alice, The Last Schwartz) to MTC. This production marks the MTC debuts of Oregon Shakespeare Festival company member Mark Bedard (Animal Crackers, The Servant of Two Masters) and local actor Ben Johnson (Cirque du Soliel, Ringling Bros.), as well as two southern Marin youths – Lucas Meyers, a Mill Valley resident and seventh grader at Mill Valley Middle School, and Sam Novick, a San Rafael resident and eighth grader at Greenwood School in Mill Valley.

Waiting for Godot is on the California Department of Education Recommended Literature List for grades 9-12.

FACTS & CALENDAR INFORMATION

WHAT

Waiting for Godot

WHO

Marin Theatre Company

By Samuel Beckett

Directed by Jasson Minadakis

Featuring Mark Bedard,* James Carpenter,* Ben Johnson,* Lucas Meyers, Sam Novick and Mark Anderson Phillips*

* Member, Actor’s Equity Association

WHEN

January 24 – February 17, 2012

Opening Night: Tuesday, January 29

Previews: Thursday, January 24 - Sunday, January 27

Performance Days

Tue, Thu, Fri & Sat 8:00 pm

Wed 7:30 pm

Sun 7:00 pm

Matinees: Every Sun 2:00 pm | Sat 2/2 & 2/16, 2:00 pm | Thu 2/7, 1:00 pm

Check marintheatre.org or call the box office at (415) 388-5208 for exact performance dates and times.

WHERE

Marin Theatre Company | 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941

ABOUT

“ This greatest of 20th-century plays is also entertainment of a high order. ” – The New York Times

Didi and Gogo dally by the side of the road. They are expecting the imminent arrival of another man. They’ve asked this man for nothing definite, but eagerly anticipate his reply. And though they admit that they do not know him well and won’t even recognize him when they see him, they wait. They wait for Godot. | Voted most significant English language play of the 20th century in a Royal National Theatre poll

“A witty and poetic conundrum” – The Guardian

TICKETS

$36–$57, details below (discounts available for Seniors and those Under 30)

Ticket Prices

Previews: $36 all

Opening Night & Sat Evenings: $52 side | $57 center

Tues: $36 | $41

Wed, Thu, Sun Evenings & Matinees: $41 | $46

Fri: $47 | $52

Discounts available:

RUSH tickets: $15, available one hour prior to show, based on availability

Under 30: $20, all performances

Senior discounts: varies by performance, please call

For group sales, contact Julie Knight, (415) 388-5200, ext. 3302

ENGAGE

“MTC Engaged” invites patrons to join MTC’s artistic staff, designers and casts in conversation.

One or two special guests will join a member of MTC’s artistic staff to host a Q&A talk back after every performance, except Saturday matinees and evenings, and Opening and Closing Nights. The format will allow our guests to discuss their impressions of the play, which has many interpretations (and few explanations from the playwright himself), before opening for questions.

MTC Engaged Special Events:

• Theater Lecture Series at Mill Valley Public Library – FREE public lecture by MTC artistic staff, 375 Throckmorton Ave., 1/16, 7:30 p.m.

• After Words – post-show interview with special guest: Sun 1/27, 2:00 p.m.

• Director’s Night – post-show conversation with director: Wed 1/30 & 2/13

• Theater Lecture Series at Belvedere-Tiburon Library – FREE public lecture by MTC artistic staff; 1501 Tiburon Blvd., Tiburon; 1/31, 7:30 p.m.

• Perspectives – pre-show topical lecture: Thu 2/7, 12:00 p.m.

ACCESS

“MTC All Access” strives to make theater accessible to all audiences. For visually impaired patrons, Large Print playbills are available at the box office at all performances, Digital playbills that are compatible with screen reader software are available online starting one week before the first performance of a production, and Braille playbills are available with two-weeks advance notice through partnership with LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. To request a Braille playbill, call MTC’s Box Office, (415) 388-5208, or use the California Telecommunications Relay Service by dialing “711.” For hearing impaired patrons, amplified sound Listening Devices are available.

CONTACT

marintheatre.org | (415) 388-5208 | boxoffice@marintheatre.org

ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES

Jasson Minadakis (Director) is in his seventh season as artistic director of MTC, where he has directed Othello, the Moor of Venice, The Glass Menagerie, Edward Albee’s Tiny Alice, the world premiere of Seagull, Happy Now?, Equivocation (2010 Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Director), the world premiere of Sunlight, Lydia, The Seafarer, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Streetcar Named Desire, said Saïd, Love Song and The Subject Tonight is Love. As artistic director of Actor’s Express Theatre Company, he directed The Pillowman, Bug, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Echoes of Another Man, Killer Joe, Burn This, The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, Blue/Orange and Bel Canto. As producing artistic director of Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, he directed Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, Chagrin Falls (2002 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Production), The Beard of Avon, Arcadia, Nocturne, Fuddy Meers, Lovers & Executioners, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, Betrayal, The Weir, Waiting for Godot, The Misanthrope, A Chance of Lightning, The Three Musketeers, Dracula, The Color Wheel and 19 productions of Shakespeare. Regional credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Hamlet at Georgia Shakespeare, Copenhagen at Playhouse on the Square (2003 Ostrander Theatre Award for Best Dramatic Production) and Bedroom Farce at Wayside Theatre. In 2004, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Creative Loafing and Southern Voice named him best director of the year. Later this season, he will direct The Whipping Man at MTC and Virginia Stage Company.

Mark Bedard (Vladimir) makes his MTC debut in Waiting for Godot. He has been a company member for six seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where he has appeared in Animal Crackers; Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella; Love’s Labor’s Lost; Henry IV, Part Two; WillFul; She Loves Me; The Merchant of Venice; The Servant of Two Masters; Paradise Lost; Much Ado about Nothing; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; The Comedy of Errors; The Taming of the Shrew; and On the Razzle. He has also appeared in Cymbeline at The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C. and A Circus Christmas Carol at International City Theatre in Long Beach. He is a graduate of University of California, Irvine.

James Carpenter (Pozzo) has appeared at MTC in the world premiere of 9 Circles, Two for the Seesaw, All in the Timing: Six One-Act Comedies by David Ives and Lips Together, Teeth Apart. He has been an associate artist with Cal Shakes for 11 seasons and is a former associate artist with Berkeley Rep, where he acted in over 30 productions. With 30 years of performing in the Bay Area, Carpenter’s local credits include Aurora Theatre Company, A.C.T., Magic Theatre, San Jose Rep, Shakespeare Santa Cruz and TheatreWorks. His regional credits include work at Yale Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Huntington Theatre Company in Boston, Intiman Theatre in Seattle, the Old Globe in San Diego and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He received the Barbara Bladen Porter Award for Continued Excellence in the Arts from the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critic Circle in 2007 and the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship from the Ten Chimneys Foundation in 2010. Carpenter’s film and TV credits include Nash Bridges; the films Metro and The Rainmaker; and the independent projects Singing, Presque Isle and The Sunflower Boy.

Ben Johnson (Lucky) makes his MTC debut in Waiting for Godot. Locally, he has appeared in The Underpants at Center Rep, Scapin at A.C.T., as a company member with BATS Improv Theatre and in Oskar and Big Bully Battle with TheatreWorks for Schools. His other credits include The Elephant Man, Mother Courage, La Bête, The Beard of Avon and Red Noses at the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre in Rhode Island; A Midsummer Saturday Night’s Fever Dream and All’s Kool That Ends Kool at the Troubadour Theater Company in Los Angeles; and as a company member with Improv Jones in Rhode Island. He is circus performer who has been a featured clown in Cirque du Soleil’s world tour of Alegría, ringmaster in Zoppe Family Circus’s Coming to America, and a clown with the Flying Wallendas, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus’s the Greatest Show on Earth, Medical Clown Project and Big Apple Circus’s Clown Care Unit. Johnson also created an original solo performance called Trunk Show. His film and TV credits include , the children’s video project Flummox and Friends, Betrayed, Messenge, Your Feelings, Reversal of Fortune, The Brides of Frankenstein, The 14th Floor and Inhouse: Sketching Reality. Johnson has a BA in History from University of California, Los Angeles, and MA in Teaching from Brown University.

Lucas Meyers (a boy) makes his main stage debut in Waiting for Godot at MTC, where he previously appeared in the MTC Summer Camp production of Princess and the Pea. A resident of Mill Valley, he has appeared locally in The Music Man and The Wizard of Oz with the Mountain Play at the Sidney B. Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre on Mount Tamalpais. His other performances include Les Miserable with Marin Youth Performers, Detention with A.C.T. Young Conservatory and The Gift at the Esalen Institute. Meyers is a seventh grader at Mill Valley Middle School.

Sam Novick (a boy) makes his main stage debut in Waiting for Godot at MTC, where he previously appeared in the MTC Summer Camp production of Through the Looking Glass. A resident of San Rafael, he has appeared locally in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night at Greenwood School and Julius Caesar with Marin Shakespeare Company Summer Camp. Novick is an eighth grader at Greenwood School in Mill Valley.

Mark Anderson Phillips (Estragon) has appeared at MTC in Edward Albee’s Tiny Alice, Happy Now? and The Last Schwartz. Locally, he has appeared in roles at TheatreWorks, Berkeley Rep, San Jose Rep, Magic Theatre (including the US premiere of Stones in his Pockets), Aurora Theatre Company, SF Playhouse, Cal Shakes, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Center REP and Word for Word. Regionally, he has appeared at A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle, Arizona Theatre Company and Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Phillips has appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Joan Rivers - a work in progress by a life in progress and the New York International Fringe Festival in Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party, which won Best of Fringe. He is the recipient of three San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle awards for best performance by a male in a leading role. His film and TV credits include Nash Bridges, the children’s video project Flummox and Friends, This is Macbeth and This is Hamlet with Reinventing the Wheel Productions, Something Better with Blu Fly Productions and Joan Rivers - A Piece of Work with Break Thru Films.

ABOUT MTC

Founded in 1967, Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theater and the leading professional theater in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season of provocative plays by passionate playwrights from the 20th century and today in our intimate 231-seat proscenium theater. We are committed to the development and production of new plays by American playwrights, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards, new play readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging playwrights and a leadership position in the National New Play Network. Our numerous education programs serve more than 6,000 students each year.

PRESS CONTACT

Sasha Hnatkovich, Communications Director

(415) 388-5200, ext. 3313 | email

– #### –