Waiting even longer for Godot

The Irish Times reports:

An attempt to stage Waiting for Godot in the Netherlands took on a Beckettian turn when the venue cancelled the performances because the Irish director had auditioned only men for the all-male cast of characters.

Can you imagine?? Auditioning only men to play men??? That director should be in jail, with bruises and contusions.

The play, in which Vladimir and Estragon are occasionally joined by other male characters as they await someone who never arrives, had been in rehearsals since November and was due to be staged at the University of Groningen’s Usva student cultural centre in March.

But the performances were cancelled after the venue discovered the casting call for the play’s five male roles had been open to men only, something they informed the production team went against a university inclusivity policy.

The university has a policy that forbids auditioning according to the sex of the characters?

“If it concerned a play with five white guys that they’d held open auditions for, everything would have been fine. But you can’t ban people right from the start,” Usva theatre programmer Bram Douwes told the Ukrant newspaper.

Yes you can. You can save everybody’s time and trouble by listing some criteria.

“[Beckett] explicitly stated that this play should be performed by five men. Moving forward, times have changed. And that the idea that only men are suitable for this role is outdated and even discriminatory,” university press officer Elies Kouwenhoven said.

That’s the play that Beckett wrote though. It’s too late to fix his thinking, and it’s not “discriminatory” to cast his play the way he wrote it.

“We as a university stand for an open inclusive community where it is not appropriate to exclude others, on any basis.”

Oh fuck off. So students can walk into their professors’ houses without knocking? Toilets have no walls? The public gets to sit in on all lectures and classes? The cafeteria feeds everyone in Groningen?

Of course it’s “appropriate” to exclude others in some circumstances. It’s also necessary. You don’t have to invite people you dislike to your parties. You don’t have to hire the first person who applies when you have a job that needs filling. You don’t have to read the first book you see at the library.

Mr Moyne told The Irish Times he had considered casting people of other genders for the roles, but could not do so because of rules set down by the playwright before his death and upheld by the Beckett estate.

Beckett sued a Dutch theatre company in 1988 for choosing to cast women in the play, the best known work from the Theatre of the Absurd movement. His estate holds the rights to the work until 2059, and has continued to oppose productions that deviate from Beckett’s instructions.

So the People of Incloosion will have to leave Beckett alone for 36 years. Fortunately there are other plays.

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