A performance of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot has been cancelled because of its all male script.
The play is a tragicomedy about two men, Vladimir and Estragon, who have been waiting at length for a man called Godot to appear.
It is a classic of Irish theatre and there are strict rules governing its performance.
Despite this, student director Oisín Moyne was keen to put on a performance of the play at the university he attends in Groningen in the Netherlands.
“No alterations could be made to the material itself,” Mr Moyne told The Pat Kenny Show.
“That includes any alterations to the script and also that the list of characters and the genders of those characters be five men could not be changed,”
“So, [even] if we had wanted to, we would not be able to cast anyone but five men for those roles and we were all a bit disappointed by that but ultimately we felt that we could still bring some very interesting and high-quality theatre to the city.”
The play was pitched, accepted and rehearsals have been ongoing for the last few months.
Although the cast is all male, the production team is diverse and a majority of its members are either women or members of the LGBT community.
It was only after an application for a grant was submitted that problems began to arise.
“My producer, Medea, she was contacted independently by the theatre itself, who simply asked that they wished to talk,” Mr Moye said.
“Medea went to this meeting and they simply informed her that they would not be allowing the showing of the play because of this restrictive casting and they felt it was against their inclusivity ideals and policies that the auditions should not be allowed for all to attend.”
Women have long taken on theatre roles written for men but Mr Moyne said the production team wanted to be true to the play as Beckett had intended it to be performed.
“I think there are certain plays where there is nothing wrong with simply wanting a certain type of person for that role or as it was originally written,” he said.
The students still hope they can perform the play and are seeking out an alternative venue.
“Our main goal now is to try and stage the play that our casting crew have been working on,” Mr Moyne said.
“We don’t wish to change any of the work that they have done and we’re actively looking for… alternative venues to have our cast and crew’s work come to fruition.”
Main image: Patrick Stewart (Vladimir), Simon Callow (Pozzo), Ian McKellen (Estragon) in WAITING FOR GODOT by Samuel Beckett at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Picture by: Alamy.com