The signs posted to evict Occupy Pittsburgh were simple white board with black lettering. They reminded me of something and it bugged me all day. Then I remembered:
It’s the stage directions for Beckett’s Waiting for Godot as staged by Paul Chan in New Orleans after Katrina. His 2007 production was prompted by Chan’s own sense that the devastated city reminded him of something. When he remembered the scenario for Godot, the New Orleans streets now seemed to him to call for a production of the play. Audiences flocked to see it and the endless waiting of the “tramps” made sense to people in post-Katrina New Orleans because of their own interminable delays with FEMA and other governmental authority.The three rivers that meet in Pittsburgh run into the Ohio river and from there into the Mississippi, down on to New Orleans. There’s a connection at work here. We could play with this is in a number of registers. Perhaps the “tramps” that have nowhere else to go have been evicted by Godot, who no longer wants them to wait. Perhaps Vladimir and Estragon have decided that they have had enough of being tramps and have occupied the country road: Occupy Godot. Perhaps Lucky disrupts their General Assembly.
Chain of associations: in the original French production of En Attendant Godot, Lucky was played by Jean Martin, a former member of the French Resistance, as indeed was Beckett.