Thursday, September 16, 2004


London Daily Telegraph "Notebook" columnist Michael Simpkins offers a splendid anecdote told to a friend by the English actor Peter Woodthorpe ("Max the pathologist" in the Inspector Morse series), who died last month at age 72.

Woodthorpe played Estragon in the original 1955 London production of Waiting for Godot. According to Woodthorpe, "Beckett wrote the play in French, and at the time there was a notoriously slow French cyclist called Godot who always came last in the Tour de France. That's why Beckett chose the name. When the play was performed in Paris the line, 'We're waiting for Godot' brought the biggest laugh of the evening."

So much for the lit. crit. academics ("we can interpret the life out of anything") who theorize that the name "Godot" carries religious overtones.

Simpkins: "Having never met Woodthorpe, I've no idea if this story is true, but, even if it isn't, it should be."