Waiting for Godot

Yesterday, my Year 10 class undergoing an acceleration unit of VCE Theatre Studies, were asked of their first responses to Beckett’s famous play Waiting for Godot. Yet to workshop the play with scripts, the class was first introduced to Godot via the film version of the play in a studio on the Beckett DVD box set.

I then tried a little inquiry-based learning. While watching the DVD over a few lessons, I set them off to research Godot’s plot, style and philosophy underpinning that style. “Nothing happens … twice” was one student’s response. Little did she know, this was also a famous critic’s response back in the 50s. A bit of careful research and they soon found the answers – absurdism and existentialism – now the only challenge was understanding what they meant and entailed? Not an easy task for a group of 15/16 year-olds! Just thought I’d share their initial responses to Waiting for Godot, limited to one word, only:

  • difficult
  • confusing
  • dry
  • different
  • repetitive (x2)
  • insignificant
  • thought-provoking
  • baffling
  • intriguing (x2)
  • slow (x2)
  • interesting
  • odd

We then read several critics’ responses to Godot’s first English-language translation in London in 1953 and the students’ soon discovered everyone had a different response to Godot (and still does!) and perhaps this is part of its beauty, mystery and charm and one of the reasons why this play has stood the test of time in the modern theatre.

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