I have gone back and forth over the years on whether I think Waiting for Godot is a good play. I’ve seen maybe a half a dozen productions of it, the better of them suggesting, though never quite convincing me, that there is something more to the play than midcentury existential self-pity. The worse of them left me with a deep impression of dread and despair—not of life, the abyss, emptiness, our fundamental aloneness in the universe, or the prospect of ultimate ontological erasure, but of sitting through the second act. Perhaps it is the case that being locked in the darkness waiting for something to end is precisely what one is intended to take away from Samuel Beckett’s absurdist spectacle, but it is an unpleasant sensation. It’s not like you have to endure an actual blizzard every time somebody puts on John Gabriel Borkman or fast for a week before reading “A Hunger Artist.”

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