Waiting For Godot

“you’ll swear the story was meant to be told in Yiddish… the Yiddish shows you how the characters feel.”

By Andrew Andrews

David Mandelbaum and Eli Rosen star in New Yiddish Rep’s Waiting for Godot, performed in Yiddish at Theater at the 14th Street Y. Original photo by Dina Raketa.

Sometimes it feels like every day is a reprise of all the days before it: we wake up waiting for something to materialize that we were promised long ago, biding our time with the same pointless activities:

Waiting for a long-overdue promotion or raise to finally be approved.

Waiting to meet that special someone to share the rest of our lives.

Waiting for that big break to catapult us to fame and fortune.

Or sometimes, just waiting for an answer.

As in life, there’s a lot of waiting in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.

It’s even in the title, for Pete’s sake!

Vladamir (Eli Rosen) and Estragon (David Mandelbaum) have been waiting an eternity for Godot to meet them under a tree one day, but only Pozzo (Gera Sandler), Lucky (Richard Saudek) and an unnamed boy (Noam Sandler/Myron Tregubov) ever come by.

Beckett originally penned Godot in French and then translated it to English a few years later. Now, Shane Baker has translated it once more… and this time, into Yiddish.

Directed by Ronit Muszkatblit for New Yiddish Rep at The 14th Street Y, the production features English and Hebrew supertitles so the rest of us can follow along.

That’s good news, because if you’ve ever seen Godot in your native tongue, you know that it’s already 100% “WTF!?”

People have been trying to read volumes into the minimalist scene for decades, but Beckett insisted it’s no more than a story of co-dependence—or, in his own word, symbiosis.

Catch this production, and you’ll swear the story was meant to be told in Yiddish, because the supertitles tell you what the actors say, but the Yiddish shows you how the characters feel.


Andrew Andrews attended Waiting For Godot at The 14th Street Y Theater at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 @ 7:30pm to write this review.