What is it about?

This paper focuses on an adaptation of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in the Muslim context of Pakistan. Firstly, it looks at previous performances of the play with female actors. Secondly, it examines why female characters are introduced in the adaptation, which is strikingly opposite to Beckett’s idea of characterization in Waiting for Godot. Thirdly, it explores how such alteration is significant in the context of the Muslim culture of Pakistan. Finally, the play thus adapted for a local audience is read in a political light.

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Why is it important?

The experimental production of Waiting for Godot is interesting because it has sought both to feminize and politicize Beckett's play.


The adaptation highlights Waiting for Godot's potential to mutate into new forms. The adapter may have tampered with the original text but the experimentation with characterization wreathed the play with the aura of indigeneity and granted it greater relevance to the Pakistani audience. The experimentation with casting was certainly facilitated by the staging of the performance at the periphery, safely curtained from the stern and exacting glare of the Beckett Estate. As a result,this adaptation might look very un-Beckettian for various reasons; however, the abundance of implications confirms the general view that Beckett’s oeuvre, wherever it finds itself or whatever shape it gets formed into, is a complex phenomenon that can create newer systems of signification.

Umar Shehzad
University of Edinburgh

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This page is a summary of: Gendering Waiting for Godot in the Socio-political Context of Pakistan, Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui, April 2022, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/18757405-03401006.
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