Inspired by Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
A kitchen. A cake. Any time of day.
“Imagine a play that contains no action, but characters that have nothing to say to each other.” (Roger Blin, Director – Waiting for Godot).
Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett’s plucky tragicomedy in two acts is precisely that – a play about literally nothing. First performed in 1953 at Théâtre de Babylone in Paris, the play is as rich in allegory and philosophical parley as it is nonsense.
Or is it?
The main characters – Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo) – are as close to protagonists as any character can be in this Absurdist modern drama. Performed in only two acts with the same setting for both, they wait on a country road by a tree for Godot – a man they may or may not have previously met. Why, you ask? Who knows? We never learn why they’re waiting or even who Godot is, because he never shows up. They keep saying “Let’s go” but they never move. Huh. Beckett juxtaposes the two characters which makes their seemingly mindless conversations a lot less, well silly. Vladimir is the more contemplative or “meta” of the two. He’s concerned with matters of the mind – religion, philosophy, existentialism. Estragon focuses on matters of the body with most of his attention on his boots.
They do encounter other characters such as Pozzo and Lucky – Pozzo’s slave (the irony of the name is not lost on me). When Pozzo arrives, he explains to Vladimir and Estragon that he’s on his way to the market to sell Lucky for a profit (dick). Pozzo is an abusive a-hole. He demands Lucky perform a dance and a monologue which is a long incoherent speech mixing scholastic theological with the nonsensical. Lucky’s speech is an attempt to discuss man’s relationship with God but does so in an incoherent, often comical manner. At the end of Act I, a boy who happens to be one of Godot’s goatherders, shows up and tells the two that Godot will not be coming until tomorrow.
Act II opens with Vladimir and Estragon – wait for it – still waiting by that same tree only it has leaves, so a significant amount time has obviously passed. Pozzo and Lucky reappear but not like before. Pozzo is blind and Lucky is cognitively impaired. Pozzo can’t remember meeting Vladimir or Estragon, and when they finally leave, and the two go on waiting. The boy reappears and tells them Godot isn’t coming after all. Vladimir and Estragon contemplate suicide but make the astute observation that they don’t have a rope. They finally decide to leave and return the next day with a rope but they still remain as the curtain falls. Again, huh.
So, what’s the point? For a drama, there’s no real action to speak of, no conflict, and certainly no resolution. In 1999, professor and literary scholar, Normand Berlin, observed, “Because the play is so stripped down, so elemental, it invites all kinds of social and political and religious interpretation, with Beckett himself placed in different schools of thought, different movements and isms.”
So, is Waiting for Godot an allegory for the Cold War or of French Resistance to the Germans during World War Two – after all it was originally written by Beckett in French? Does it contemplate the meaning of life in some existentialist dreamscape? Deeply steeped in scriptural allusion, is it representative of Man’s relationship with God? Is Godot God?
You tell me…
Whatever your interpretation, here’s something that’s definitely worth the wait. Time spent waiting for cake is time well spent.
And now here’s something I think you’ll really like →
Chocolate Swiss Roll with Bailey’s Cream Filling
For the cake:
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- Bailey’s Irish Cream – ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons
- ¼ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
- ½ cup of sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbs melted butter
- ½ tsp salt
For the filling:
- 1 8 oz package cream cheese – softened
- 4 tbs butter – melted
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 3 tbs Bailey’s Irish Cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions for cake:
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
- Line a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Leave a little extra on all sides so you can lift the cake easily once it’s baked. Spray the parchment with cooking spray to prevent the cake from sticking.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and granulated sugar until well blended. Add butter and vanilla extract and mix well. Fold in the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
- With a rubber spatula, spread the batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched.
- Grabbing the edges of the parchment, carefully lift the cake out onto a flat, heat-resistant surface. Using your hands, carefully roll the cake – roll from short end to short end — until rolled tightly. Place on a wire rack to cool.
- While the cake is cooling to room temperature, make the filling.
- Once the cake has cooled, transfer to a flat surface, and slowly unroll it. Spread the filling evenly over cake, leaving roughly ½ inch border on all sides. Then carefully re-roll the cake, peeling the parchment carefully as you roll.
- Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve.
- Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar, slice, and enjoy!
Directions for filling:
- In a medium mixing bowl, combined soften cream cheese, powdered sugar, 3 tbs (or more) of Bailey’s, butter, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- You can thin out the mixture if it’s too thick with either more Bailey’s (I highly recommend) or a few tbs of water.