Waiting for Godot – Meet Estragon

One day remains before our wait for Godot comes to an end. With that, we’re taking another poke at the minds under the bowler hats that make up our cast. Say hello to Mark O’Donnell.

It’s been over a year since staged productions have happened. What are you most looking forward to about returning to the stage after the pandemic? 

Mark: Developing a relationship with a live audience again. I did two things online and while it helped kind of fill the yearning to act, there is nothing that beats the energy of live theatre.

What brought you out to audition for Godot? And what role do you have in the production?

Mark: I was honored that Ed thought of me for the role of Estragon after the original actor had to unfortunately drop out. But I’ve always been intrigued by the play, Estragon was a role that I never thought I would want to play until after starting to rehearse it.

How are you most like/unlike your character?

Mark: Gogo can be a bit childish and self centered and I see that in myself occasionally. Also, I think Gogo doesn’t understand how funny he is, I think I understand how funny I am.

All of the men in the show wear bowler hats. Is there a part of your wardrobe you always wear?

Mark: Underpants. That is my answer.

What has been your favorite part or  the most interesting part of the rehearsal process so far?

Mark: Because the process for me has  been so short, it’s been a challenge to try to get the lines memorized. It’s been incredibly challenging to try and get this character rehearsed, developed, and learned in less than three weeks. I wish I had more time.  It’s interesting in that through the intense line study, learning the play on a level that goes beyond anything I dreamed.

After rehearsing and putting together this production, who do you think Godot truly is?

Mark: I did no secondary source research for this show, mostly because of lack of time, but I also did not want literary criticism to influence my performance.  With that, I believe Godot is different for every single person. I also think that Godot doesn’t exist as a human. I think Godot is a concept that’s different for everybody.

If you were waiting for Godot how would you pass the time?

Mark: Playing hacky sack.

Any other thoughts or comments on the show as we prepare to open?

Mark: One of my favorite quotes is from Northern Exposure, “Theatre is a group of people sitting together in a darkened room trying to solve their own humanity.” I think that this play is about people trying to solve their own humanity, but this time it’s even more relevant  because it’s the first time that people have sat together in a darkened room, a theatre, and this show can really impact the audience and help them grapple with their pandemic experience.

A big thank you to Mark for talking to us and for taking on this role! There’s only one day left before the curtain is finally raised. Stay safe, get those tickets, and we’ll see you on the stage!