As the final Bruce Hall Play rehearsal happened to fall on an extraordinarily busy Wednesday night, no regular Woroni theatre reviewers were available to write about it. This unfortunate circumstance led to your current correspondent, a completely untheatrical mensch, finding himself somehow conscripted to pen the review himself. Thus, pen in hand and trepidation in heart, your correspondent found himself squatting uncertainly in a darkened theatre at the end of what had been a very long day. However, your correspondent set to work immediately, bolstered by only a beer or two seized eagerly from a suspiciously generous patron of the play. The following is a dramatic reconstruction of that experience.
A university theatre.
Estragon: Nothing to be done.
Vladimir: No. Thank God we should have here, though, not to do it in. [pauses] Where are we?
Estragon: Not a clue. Charming spot though. Inspiring prospects. Help me off with my boot, will you?
Vladimir: Do you remember what they asked us?
Estragon: Let’s go.
Vladimir: We can’t. We’re waiting for the real reviewer to show up.
Estragon: Who asked us?
Estragon: To wait?
Vladimir: To find a real reviewer.
Estragon: Didi, my boot; Didi, will you?
The lights darken. The actors from Bruce Hall enter stage.
Vladimir: (quietly) Oh Godot.
Estragon: (whispering loudly) Didi! Didi, what do we do? Is this the reviewer? Who are these retched orphans? Didi, my boot hurts!
Vladimir: Shhhhh! Gogo, we have to take notes! Before he gets here!
Estragon: Before who gets here? Before I get here? Write it down: My boot hurts.
Vladimir: (scribbling furiously, and, in the dark, illegibly) The hunch-backed girl is very inspiring. The protagonist is lightly perspiring. One of the actors is definitely a Nazi.
Estragon: It’s a scandal!
Vladimir: Some appear to be suffering from the delusion that they are physicists living in a madhouse because they suffer under the delusion that they are other physicists. The others seem to be suffering under the delusion of thinking that they’re mad.
Vladimir: What to do? Whatever to do?
Vladimir: I know what it is! It’s the shoes! Quickly, count them!
Estragon: The actors wear eight pairs of black shoes.
Vladimir: Four brown.
Estragon: And one pair of slippers.
Vladimir: Would a real reviewer count the actors’ shoes?
Estragon: Don’t forget my boot! Help me Didi, I’m struggling, I’m wrestling with it.
The Bruce Hall Play ends. The actors disperse.
Pozzo enters stage right, leading Lucky by means of a rope. Pozzo takes a seat and starts eating sandwiches from a basket carried by Lucky. Lucky moves to centre stage.
Lucky: Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann Psychiatrist played by Shellie Gallagher of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside Nurses played by Talia Gedik and Cath Pilley time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly Police played by James Downie and Betty Xiong with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown Physicists and Mental Patients played by Hugh Morell, Bryce Robinson and Guy Leckenby but time will tell are plunged in torment plunged in fire whose fire flames if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament Missionary Oskar Rose and Male Attendant played by Jake Smith that is to say blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing but not so fast and considering Mrs. Möbius/Rose played by Elle Lawless what is more her Sons played by Alex Hackett, Betty Xiong and Damon Binder that as a result of the labors left unfinished crowned by the Acacacacademy of Anthropopopometry of Essy-in-Possy of Testew and Cunard the skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the labors abandoned left unfinished graver still abode of stones Male Attendants played by Damon Binder and Alex Hackett in a word I resume alas alas abandoned unfinished the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the skull alas the stones Cunard (mêlée, final vociferations). . . tennis . . . the stones . . . so calm . . . Cunard . . . unfinished . . .
Long pause. Vladimir and Estragon exchange looks.
Vladimir: Where is he? The real reviewer?
Estragon: I don’t know. My boot still hurts. I’m tired.
Vladimir: Well? Shall we go?
Estragon: Yes, let’s go.
They do not move.
Go and support the Bruce Hall Play. It is playing from 7:30pm today, the 28th August, to Saturday the 30th, at the ANU Drama Labs. Tickets at the door, $12 for students. Also- I cannot guarantee it, but perhaps the real reviewer might come along too. Someday. Some time. Perhaps there is just the faintest possibility that they will arrive, coincidentally, by happenstance and chance, at precisely the instant that you yourself arrive, stepping through the door one evening after a long day, tentative of heart.
Photography by Robin Munro