Iceland went bankrupt due to the economic crisis of 2008; Latvia avoided bankruptcy by a hair. That winter was so bleak that the only thing an artist could do was turn to Samuel Beckett. I created this Latvian translation of Waiting for Godot titled Gaidot Godo, working closely with the cast to keep the language contemporary and fresh. We shivered on the unheated stage of the cinema where we mounted our production thanks to the support of the Karaliskais improvizācijas teātris [The Royal Improvisation Theatre], a group run by Latvia's first stand-up comedian, Jānis Skutelis, who played Estragon. His ingenious sidekick was Varis Klausītājs as Vladimir, and the cast was rounded out by actor Mārtiņš Liepa as Pozzo and legendary actor Juris Strenga in the role of Lucky. Andris Straubergs was one of the gifted child actors in the role of the Boy. I failed to put his name on the poster, something that still fills me with chagrin.
My trusty designer Dace Džeriņa created a bright orange space of no escape.
Meduza Productions usually produced large-scale parties and took on the unique role of producing a play, for which I thank them.
It was a privilege to spend this bleak period together with Beckett. It was such a relief to inhabit this imagination. I took to heart the fact that the playwright loved Laurel and Hardy and modeled Vladimir and Estragon as despairing vaudevillians, which is why I gave them a little dance. The actor playing Lucky was very renowned and in his seventies The fact that Lucky was so old and yet subjected to such humiliations verged on a spectacle of elder abuse, and given the poverty of the aged in Latvia, occasionally someone in the audience thought that was the subtext of our production. Spectators regularly stormed out of the show, whether due to the fact that Godot just wouldn’t arrive or because they couldn’t stand seeing Lucky suffering, I’m not sure.