Paul Chan b. 1973
Waiting for Godot in New Orleans: The bootleg video (2007)
Duration: 1 hour 34 minutes
For five nights in November 2007, artist Paul Chan, working with New York's Classical Theatre of Harlem, and the public arts group Creative Time, staged free site-specific outdoor performances of Samuel Beckett's emblematic play Waiting for Godot in two New Orleanian neighborhoods destroyed by the flooding from the levee breaks during Hurricane Katrina. The play featured Wendell Pierce, a native of New Orleans and star of the HBO television series The Wire. Over 5,000 people attended the performances, one staged in the middle of the street in the Lower Ninth Ward, and the other in front of an abandoned house in the Gentilly neighborhood. The performances were part of the larger project which also consisted of a fund to help local rebuilding and reorganizing efforts, and a series of dinners, lectures, classes, and events that unfolded throughout the city during the fall of 2007. The project was entitled Waiting for Godot in New Orleans: a play in two acts, a project in three parts.
Because Godot was never meant to be seen outside its original context and form, and because of legal issues, there was hardly any video documentation of the performances themselves. But there are some. And tonight, he’ll show them for the first time in New York.