Hey everyone! As of today, I am back from Key West. My back is sunburned, my face is tanned, and my spirits are high. It was a fantastic trip.
As I play catch-up with my life, I’m pleased to presentÂ Casey Cole. She’s a singer, a performer, and the kind of friend who immediately accepts when you invite her Â to see Hannah Montanta: The Movie, followed by karaoke in Korea Town.
Like me, Casey has been struck by a weird little trend that’s sweeping New York right now: Apparently, we’ve been mispronouncing Waiting for Godot for our entire lives. Every single one of us. What’s to be done? Take a look at Casey’s reaction, then weigh in with yours…
â€œIs it GOD-dough?â€ â€œYes, I think soâ€¦â€
By CASEY COLE
I have a problem. I’m all upset over the pronunciation of “Godot“.
As you may know, we Americans have been pronouncing it “Go-DOUGH” for years. Then suddenly, back in April, director Anthony Page (who worked with author Samuel Beckett on the first British revival of the play, so Iâ€™m going to trust him on this) told us in The New York Times that we’ve been pronouncing it incorrectly.
To quote Mr. Page, â€œGo-DOUGH is an Americanism, which isnâ€™t what the play intended.â€
That hurts because I love this play. I began my love affair with Beckett in college, mostly because of aÂ literature professorÂ I had my sophomore year. He was a doctoral student, barely older than the teenagers in his â€œLiterature Types: Dramaâ€ class, and he had an English accent that made me swoon. He began class one Tuesday afternoon by reading from Beckettâ€™s short play Krappâ€™s Last Tape, a searing piece about loss and regret. A few minutes into the reading, he suddenly stopped, stared straight at his script, and sat silent for quite a while. When he finally looked up, he had tears streaming down his face, said â€œIâ€™m sorry. I canâ€™t do this,” and walked straight out of the classroom.
I couldnâ€™t breathe.
Five minutes went by. Ten. Students began to leave. After twenty minutes, it was clear he wasnâ€™t coming back. The rest of us left, and I couldnâ€™t stop thinking about it until our next class, when the professor greeted us with a slight apology for â€œwhat happened on Tuesdayâ€ and then never mentioned it again.
Now I realize that itâ€™s entirely possible the professor spent the remainder of the class period at the pub laughing at his stupid American students, but ever since that day, Beckett has given me a breathless feeling.
So imagine my excitement when I found out thatÂ Waiting for GodotÂ was coming to Broadway, with an excellent cast directed by Anthony Page. Then I read Mr. Pageâ€™s comments, I was thrown into turmoil. Now, every time I think about the play or (God forbid) talk to someone about it, I have this internal struggle about how to say the name. The grammar/accuracy bitch in me says “you have to say it correctly – it’s GOD-dough”, while the anti-pretentious me says “don’t be a douche – it’s Go-DOUGH”.
Yesterday, I was sitting in Studio 54, watching the first few minutes of this largely brilliant revival, and the first time Bill Irwin said the name â€œGOD-doughâ€, the American Apparel-clad hipster in front of me leaned over to his date and whispered â€œSee? I TOLD you.â€ Wow â€“ I do NOT want to be that person.
What to do? Please tell me Iâ€™m not alone in this â€œGOD-doughâ€/â€Go-DOUGHâ€ dilemma. Or at least share a similar experience youâ€™ve had with another name or fact. Seriously guys, please help me. Iâ€™m losing sleep over this.
And for the record, my college professor pronounced â€œGodotâ€ the incorrectÂ American way, but with a British accent.