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GU’s ZagLab updates ‘Godot’ with environmental statement

Gonzaga students (from left) Jaron Fuglie and Regina Carrere and GU alumnae Talena Laine and Elizabeth Spindler will perform in "Waiting for Godot” at the Washington Cracker Co. building in downtown Spokane on Thursday. (Gonzaga University)
Gonzaga students (from left) Jaron Fuglie and Regina Carrere and GU alumnae Talena Laine and Elizabeth Spindler will perform in "Waiting for Godot” at the Washington Cracker Co. building in downtown Spokane on Thursday. (Gonzaga University)

Samuel Beckett’s iconic play “Waiting for Godot” is being staged this week as part of a new Gonzaga University art project.

ZagLab is a joint project of the college’s theater and arts departments that aims to encourage “artistic risk-taking,” according to a GU news release.

The play, which premiered in Paris in 1953, centers on two men who are waiting for a man named Godot, who never shows up. The ZagLab production will stage the tragicomedy outdoors, and as a means to discuss environmental issues. The set will feature an art installation created by artists J.J. McCracken of Washington, D.C., and Mat Rude, an assistant professor in GU’s art department. The ceramic installation will depict a melting glacial field and is intended to degrade over time, the news release said.

Director Charlie Pepiton, who teaches in GU’s theater and dance department, said in the news release that one of the project’s aims is to take the audience and performers out of their comfort zones.

“Essentially, the message of our production is that we have created the problem of climate change, and it’s our responsibility to make necessary changes,” Pepiton said. “Two of the characters wait in a wasteland for a man named Godot because he is supposed to save them. The characters represent all of us waiting for someone else to act.”

The play is presented in collaboration with the Spokane arts group Terrain, with support from the women’s and gender studies and English departments at GU, as well as the college’s sustainability office and the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry.

ZagLab is modeled after the University of Idaho’s Vandal Theatre Lab and the New York University Experimental Theatre Wing.