ALIAS GODOT By Brendan Gall, directed by Richard Rose (Tarragon, 30 Bridgman). To June 1. Pwyc-?$38. 416-?531-?1827. See listing. Rating: NNN
You don’t have to wait long for the laughs in Alias Godot, Brendan Gall’s clever riff on Samuel Beckett’s 20th-century masterpiece, Waiting For Godot.
In a New York City interrogation room (Teresa Przybylski’s forced-?perspective set, lit imaginatively by Rebecca Picherack, is both ordinary and filled with menace), police duo Vincent (David Ferry) and Edward (Paul Braunstein) try to coerce a story from Godot (Alon Nashman), a foreigner who’s caught them in a compromising situation.
The angelically innocent, playful Godot, as much in the dark about his actions as the incompetent policemen, attempts to figure out his past and present. Things don’t improve with the sudden appearance of Rocko (Tony Nappo) and Linus (Geoffrey Pounsett), slapstick-?style members of the Domestic Terrorism Unit. (Or should that be Anti-?DMT? No one’s quite sure.)All the characters except Godot are variations on Beckett’s quartet, but you don’t need to know Waiting For Godot to be entertained.
Creating a world of insanity both outside and inside the interrogation room, Gall and director Richard Rose play the first half for verbal and physical laughs.
The belligerent Ferry and the bumbling Braunstein make a successfully clownish team, and Nappo’s farcical Rocko doesn’t require a banana peel to fall flat on his face.
Pounsett’s Linus, like Lucky in Beckett, has an amazingly complex monologue – part pun, part nonsense, part fearsome rant – echoing a staunchly right-?wing, post-?9/11 Patriot Act.
The second act grabs us more effectively, though, when Gall adds compassion and humanity to his comic mix.
We discover that characters care for each other, none more so than the mysterious Godot, who in the talented Nashman’s hands grows from a sweet child to a messianic philosopher offering an ignored helping hand to those around him.