“Waiting for Godot” Set Design Rationale

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“Waiting for Godot”


In the production “Waiting for Godot” there are not many scenic changes made within the play. The writer of “Waiting for Godot” Sam Beckett developed the play in the form of the Theatre of the Absurd created during WW1. The Theatre of the Absurd plays are confusing and sometimes have hidden meanings concealed with dark humour. Playwrights focus their writing on conveying a sense of puzzlement, anxiety, and wonder in the face of an unexplainable universe.

For example, in the play “Waiting for Godot” there are only two main scenes set in the same place; act 1 and act 2. When the two main characters Vladimir and Estragon go to sleep they wake to see the only large piece of scenic structure, a tree, has changed only slightly by growing leaves. The characters discuss how one only day has passed. However, the tree changing from bare branches to showing signs of life displays a seasonal change (e.g. winter to spring), rather than the passing of a day.

Each day they wake up and wait for a man called Godot, centring all scenes around a lone tree on set. The only other scenic changes focuses on the movement of the characters with each other and their interactions with the set itself, rather than major structural scene changes.

I have attached an example with a diagram of the only set change in the play.


The effect of levelling by the actors standing or sitting to reveal different status or authority, appears many times in the play “Waiting for Godot”. This effect helps describe the different status of all five characters throughout the production. I have placed the seating at the front of the stage where the audience will be placed at the top of the upwards slant seating them closest to the sky with the main stage below on a lower level. This would also show that Estragon and Vladimir (on stage) are the farthest away from the sky and are stuck in the world, far away from heaven.

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