I don’t think it’s possible to study French literature, and therefore by extension French theater, without studying Waiting for Godot. It is the ultimate play of the Absurd school. It is a play that happens nowhere, at no time, and is mostly deep and illogical dialog about, among many things, a guy no one ever sees, written in French by an Irish playwright. A Modern French Theater Study teacher’s wet dream.
Two homeless men, Vladimir and Estragon, are sitting beneath a tree, by the side of a road, waiting for a man named Godot, who is going to change their life, though they’re not sure how. The days pass, we’re not sure how many, and Godot never comes, always sending someone with the message that he will come the next day. It’s very deep and meaningful and everything, though I could probably use a re-read.
My strongest memory of the play is the time I’ve missed seeing it. When I was studying literature in college, the theater class required that every student see, and critic, a live play. The teacher organised a field trip to Montreal, for the whole class to see that play. (I can understand the purpose of the trip; it’s easier to correct the homework if everyone sees and writes about the same play. As for the choice of the play, well, see the first paragraph.) I couldn’t go, and I can’t remember why. I want to say that it’s because I had surgery on my jaw, but I know that’s not it, because it was the fall semester, and I had that surgery in February. Maybe I had a doctor’s appointment, to prep for the surgery?
The point is, I had to go see a different play, and I missed a lot of in-jokes over the next two years.