PICT’s Waiting for Godot offers many welcome returns to stage
Martin Giles’s first role following extended illness. Alan Stanford reprises role of Pozzo.
Director Aoife Spillane-Hinks returns to direct.
Pittsburgh, PA – May 22, 2014. When Artistic & Executive Director Alan Stanford was planning the 2014 PICT season, Managing Director Stephanie Riso suggested the addition of the Beckett classic Waiting for Godot. She knew Alan had a special relationship with this particular work of Beckett, having portrayed Pozzo for the Gate Theatre Dublin’s touring production for more than twenty years. The Irish Times noted: “The Gate production is definitive, not just in Irish but in global terms…probably the closest we will ever get to the perfect official Godot.” As part of this production, Alan performed throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the U.S., and the performance at the Byham in Pittsburgh introduced him to the city which he has called home since 2009. The Gate’s production was also immortalized in Beckett on Film, with the blessing of the very particular Beckett estate. Alan commented, “This play has left such an indelible mark on my life, and I am so pleased to inhabit Pozzo again, but with Martin Giles, James FitzGerald and Ken Bolden, it feels like a completely new adventure.”
Martin Giles, who has performed and directed for PICT for more than 13 years, returns to the stage following a battle with throat cancer. Martin has been unable to work since last fall, when he directed A Skull in Connemara for PICT, and Parlour Song for Quantum – and had to bow out of playing one of his favorite roles, Dr. Watson opposite David Whalen’s Sherlock Holmes for PICT. In April, the Pittsburgh theatre community came together to roast the popular actor and successfully raised funds to help replace his lost income. Martin expressed his delight in taking the stage for PICT: “Taking on the role of Estragon (aka Gogo), which is a role I’ve always wanted to play, makes this return even sweeter and more exciting.” PICT staff, board and patrons are equally enthusiastic about his return to the stage in this iconic role.
Also returning to PICT is Aoife Spillane-Hinks, who directed Our Class for PICT in April 2013. Our Class earned an honorable mention for top play of 2013 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and audience and cast members alike appreciated Aoife’s approach to this challenging work. Aoife trained as a director on the Rough Magic/AIB SEEDS program. She holds a BA in Folklore and Mythology from Harvard University and an MA in Drama and Theatre Studies from NUI Galway. As an American-born Irish citizen, Aoife makes her home in Dublin and is the co-artistic director of Then This Theatre, and the co-curator and co-producer of the TEXT|messages Shakespeare project.
James FitzGerald recently played Dr. Bradman in PICT’s production of Blithe Spirit. His performance as Vladimir (Didi) marks his 13th production for PICT. Other Pittsburgh appearances include City Theatre (Charles Ives, Take Me Home), Quantum Theater (End of the Affair, Mouth to Mouth), Pittsburgh Public Theater (1776, Royal Family, Born Yesterday, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Our Town) Opera Theatre (Candide) and Pittsburgh Playhouse (Heads). James has performed sixteen seasons with Chicago Shakespeare Theater and numerous Chicago theatres, as well as off-Broadway productions, most notably Rose Rage directed by Edward Hall. He is also the recipient of two Joseph Jefferson Awards (Best Supporting Actor), a Jeff Citation (Best Actor), and an OE Award Nomination – Best Supporting Actor. James is one of two local actors selected as PICT’s Featured Artist for 2014. This new initiative by PICT aspires to recognize the talents and versatility of local Pittsburgh theatre artists by presenting them in diverse works throughout the season.
Ken Bolden will play Lucky, the luckless companion of Pozzo. Ken returns to PICT, where he last played Major Alistair Ross in The Crucifer of Blood. Most recently, he filmed a scene with Russell Crowe in Fathers and Daughters, and he has a leading role in Lightheaded, a locally produced independent film set for the festival circuit in 2015. He participated in Bricolage’s unique fundraiser B.U.S. this past April. You might recognize Ken from his PA Lottery commercials that have enjoyed substantial airtime this year.
Two young actors will share the role of Boy in this production. Both garnered PICT’s attention for their winning performances in the Public Theatre’s Shakespearean Monologue and Scene Contest. Elliot Pullen (left) was a finalist in 2012, earned an honorable mention in 2013, and this year, he won the lower division scene contest. His acting credits include the role of Wally Webb in Our Town (Pittsburgh Public Theater) and Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Little Lake Theatre), as well as various productions of Pittsburgh Youth Shakespeare Troupe Falstaff’s Fellows and Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Park Young Company Ensemble. Shay Freund (right) recently won best monologue in the lower division of the Shakespearean Monologue and Scene Contest for his portrayal of Flute (as Thisbe) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shay will be in the sixth grade in the fall and attends the Gideon Study Center.
Alan Stanford is providing both scenic and costume design, with assistance from props master Johnmichael Bohach and assistant costume designer Lindsay Tejan. The first show on June 4th is a student matinee, and new this year, PICT has introduced a 2pm Wednesday matinee to accommodate retires and people with alternate work schedules; Wednesday, June 18 at 2pm is the mid-week matinee for Waiting for Godot.