my Cyprus, my Κύπρος, my Kıbrıs

Waiting for Godot/Περιμενοντας τον Γκοντο/Godot’yu beklerken (not a review)

Waiting for Godot at the Home for Cooperation

Gogo: “Gidelim?” (Shall we go?)
Didi: “Εν μπορουμε, καρτερουμεν τον Γκοντο.” (We can’t, we’re waiting for Godot)

As if on a merciless loop, the words were uttered in desperation time and time again throughout the play.

Didi and Gogo, played by Giorgos Kyriacou and İzel Seylani respectively, performed their parts in the Cypriot Greek and Turkish dialects with some cross-over at times (Didi speaking Turkish and Gogo speaking Greek, very successfully!).
The premise for the original tragicomedy by Irish writer Samuel Beckett, consists of conversations between Vladimir and Estragon, who are awaiting the arrival of the elusive Godot, who continually sends word that he is coming, but never does.

With the island’s division never far from our minds and lips, this version – adapted and directed by Kostas Sylvestros and performed at the Home for Cooperation (on the roof) – poses different questions centred around the current state of the island and how we are living.

Gogo: “Dun biz burada, tam olarak lafazanlık ettik.” (Yesterday right here, we were yapping away.)
Didi: “Evet dogru sadece lafazanlık.” (Yes that’s right we were only yapping away.)

The performance was bittersweet with a side of comic relief (thank God), although some may argue it was more the other way round.

The chemistry between Didi and Gogo – and indeed the actors themselves – was palpable, unfolding across the rooftop, enveloping and immersing us in the experience.

Whenever it seemed Godot’s arrival was imminent, the radio would begin to transmit. In fact, it sounded more like someone twiddling the knob, trying to find the right station. Static interspersed with words: ‘table’, ‘negotiations’, who knows in what language. I would find myself getting lost, mesmerised, trying to understand the words buried beneath the static.

I stared into the distance at the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags flailing in the wind outside a building in the buffer zone; snapping out of my reverie only when a child’s voice (in Greek and Turkish) announced that Godot would not be coming. But he would definitely be coming the following day.

As the play continued I began to feel the same desperation and foolishness felt by Gogo and Didi, in waiting for Godot.

On the one hand, Didi was presented as sensible, committed to the cause because he continued to wait, while Gogo seemed keen to give up the wait, like a sleepy child stomping its feet to go home.

As I said, this isn’t a review. However, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the calibre of the performance and the emotions that it evoked in me and probably other audience members. And it would be remiss of the audience members not to realise that ‘Waiting for Godot’ was not simply a play about the Cyprus problem, but a cry for help.

2 thoughts on “Waiting for Godot/Περιμενοντας τον Γκοντο/Godot’yu beklerken (not a review)

  1. Alkis Sarris

    Thank you Natalie, I always find your posts inspiring and hopeful despite the total desperation of the current state of the Cyprus problem or one could say our island’s sad final partition outcome! 🙁

  2. William Johnson Everett

    Thank you for this incisive reflection on this strangely insightful and enduring play. It speaks not only to the longing for a way forward for people to live together on Cyprus but for all of us, who live on the fumes of hope but are often paralyzed by waiting for a rescuer rather than taking action on our own. I always appreciate your thoughts.

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