Peter Alfano and Tristan Odenkirk in "Waiting for Godot" at the Black Box Theatre -- October 22 through 31.

Thursday, October 22, through Saturday, October 31

The Black Box Theatre, 1623 Fifth Avenue, Moline IL

An absurdist classic made newly relevant by the global pandemic, the legendary tragicomedy Waiting for Godot enjoys an October 22 through 31 run at Moline's Black Box Theatre, with Samuel Beckett's timeless story of hope amidst existential dread described by New York Stage Review as “the great play of the 20th century.”

In Waiting for Godot, two wandering vagabonds, Vladimir and Estragon, wait by a barren tree to meet up with Mr. Godot, an enigmatic figure in a world where time, place, and memory are blurred and meaning is only where you find it. The tramps expect Godot to change their lives for the better. But instead of enjoying an audience with the fabled Godot, Vladimir and Estragon encounter the eccentric travelers Pozzo and Lucky – one man arriving on the end of the other's rope – as well as a young messenger who comes bearing urgent news. Boasting scenes of riotous slapstick and tender anguish, Waiting for Godot is a hilarious, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful tale of a friendship that refuses to perish, and a work that the London Evening Times described as “one of the most noble and moving plays of our generation … with phrases that come like a sharp stab of beauty and pain.”

Directing the play for the Black Box is Reader employee Mike Schulz, who most recently appeared in the QC Theatre Workshop's production of The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, and whose directing credits for that venue include Venus in Fur and The Big Meal. With Schulz an alumnus of Augustana College, Waiting for Godot features three fellow Augustana graduates among its cast: Tristan Odenkirk (The Goat, the Mississippi Bend Players' Biloxi Blues) as Vladimir, Peter Alfano (Augustana's Noises Off and The Crucible) as Estragon, and Brandon Smith (Augustana's She Kills Monsters and The Three Musketeers) as Pozzo. Current Augustana senior Jarod Kovach (Noises Off, The Three Musketeers) plays Lucky; Josef Bodenbender (Genesius Guild's Hamlet, the Prenzie Players' The Merry Wives of Windsor) plays the messenger; and the creative team boasts Cait Bodenbender as assistant director and costume designer, Samantha Flipp as stage manager and lighting designer, Emily Keiner as props designer, and Odenkirk as sound designer.

Waiting for Godot will be staged at the Black Box Theatre from October 22 through 31, with performances Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m and admission $13-16. Patrons will be required to wear face masks, temperatures will be taken before entry, and only certain seats will be available in order to conform to social-distancing guidelines. Advance purchase of tickets is highly recommended in order to avoid the handling of money, and more information and reservations are available by calling (563)284-2350 or visiting TheBlackBoxTheatre.com.

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