Waiting for inclusivity: Godot all male rule vexes venue
A Dutch student theatre company has been told it cannot perform Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot because it only allowed male performers to audition.
Beckett left strict instructions about how his plays were to be staged and that includes the stipulation Godot is only to be performed by male actors.
The Groningen GUTS theatre company agreed to abide by the rules but what the company did not reckon with was the venue’s policy on inclusivity. According to the Usva student centre, they only knew about Beckett’s all male clause until two weeks ago.
‘We found out the company had signed the all male clause. That came as a shock. We really can’t agree to that on principle,’ Usva chairwoman Fay Sterken told online student paper UKrant.
Irishman Oisin Moyne (24), who was set to make his directorial debut with the play, said truth was stranger than even Beckett’s fiction. ‘I would wholeheartedly say that my life in the past few weeks has become utterly absurd,’ he told the Irish Times.
Moyne said the clause had come as a surprise for him too, but that although the cast is all male, the behind the scenes crew is not.
‘We found out about it when the decision to do the play had been made and when there was very little time before we put in a request for a subsidy. This is still an important and relevant play,’ Moyne said.
The company is now looking for an alternative venue for the play. ‘Our priority is to make sure that our team’s work has not been for nothing. As we have been cancelled for inclusivity reasons I hope Usva will fill the dates with a project around theatre and inclusivity,’ Moyne said.
This is not the first time theatre groups have had a run in with Beckett’s all male rule. In 1988 another Dutch theatre company was threatened with legal steps of they went ahead with an all female cast and in 2020 clown theatre company Silent Faces which includes non-binary performers was also told Godot was off limits.
The copyright on the play runs until the end 2059.
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