Godot 2.0

A nice interview with Canadian playwright Brendan Gall in yesterday’s Toronto Star about the upcoming production of his play Alias Godot at the Tarragon Theatre.

Says Gall of his play:

“It started with a simple idea. What if, instead of being some sort of existential symbol, Godot was a guy who desperately wanted to be there, but had a really good reason for not showing up?”

Please read: The gall to pull it off.

Heres the link to Alison Brovermans National Post interview with Gall: Godot to arrive soon.

A new play

Pretty Tough
by Brendan Gall

White. A baby sings the highest and lowest audible notes simultaneously for one minute.

Lights fade down. The baby hovers next to an operating Rube Goldberg machine.

(in Basque) This perpetual-motion machine is calculating π.


The baby whistles. A wolf appears.

This is my pet wolf. (petting him) I’m the only one who can do this. (roughhousing with him) I rescued him from hunters so he’s completely loyal to me.

The wolf sits stage-right.


A crow lands on the baby’s shoulder.

This is my pet crow. I found it on the ground one day. I set its wing and nursed it back to health. Now it refuses to leave me.

The crow caws and flies to the wolf’s head.

Does anyone have someone they’d like me to murder?


An audience member points at another audience member, whom the baby kills. Fleeing. Mass panic.

Order restores.

(to the audience member who pointed) It’s lucky you know Basque. It’s a pretty tough language.

One million Grade 8 students enter. A disco-ball lowers. Alphaville’s “Forever Young” plays. The students pair off and slow-dance.

“Forever Young” ends. Everyone has their first kiss, falls in love, and exits.

I’m glad I got to see that.


The upstage curtain ignites and burns, revealing a blue whale swimming in an aquarium beyond. The water catches fire. The flames shine through the aquarium, filling the theatre.

He’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t surface. Blue whales can hold their breath a pretty long time.


Does anyone have any questions? I can speak any language.

The Basque-speaking audience member explains this. The baby fields questions in various languages. The answers are true. Tears. Laughter.

The machine dings and starts to spit ticker-tape.


House lights. A sustained recording of a rabbit screaming.


Rabbit screaming ends. Audience returns. The theatre is filled with ticker-tape. The water still burns. House lights out.

Here’s what happens when you die:

Darkness. A PowerPoint presentation plays across the aquarium.

Lights up. The baby reads out π from the ticker-tape.

The crow eats the wolf.

Inside the aquarium, the blue whale begins to thrash…

Time slows down.


(Pretty Tough was inspired by a stage direction in Sam Shepard’s “Buried Child.” Performance rights inquiries can be made to the playwright through Praxis Theatre.)

Watch this space for new work by playwright Brendan Gall

Coming this Thursday, February 7, Praxis Theatre is thrilled to present a world wide web exclusive: a brand new short dramatic work by Canadian playwright Brendan Gall.

The piece is called Pretty Tough. And we’ll be posting the entire text right here on this blog on Thursday morning.

If you are familiar with Gall’s work, you know to expect the unexpected. You are not going to want to miss this.

10 questions: Brendan Gall

1) What the fuck is going on?

Man, I don’t know. I was heading down to the Westbound platform at Broadview Station and someone had left something inside a plastic bag on the stairs. I saw it and my heart just started pounding. I mean what is that about? And, okay, so we run out of oil in ten, fifteen years; no more cars, big deal. But no more plastic? Explain to me how that’s going to work… Last night I carved a pumpkin with my girlfriend, using only basic shapes (circles, triangles, squares), but somehow it still looked like a face. I don’t get it. Besides that? MySpace is taking up too much of my time. UnSpun’s having a FUNRAZOR! at Clinton’s Tavern on Friday, November 3rd. Comedy by The Remainders and Dinkus + Music by The Northwest Division and Sunparlour Players + supporting independent theatre = Awesome.

2) Most challenging role you’ve attempted?
‘Malvolio’ in Twelfth Night. As a preying mantis. With a German accent. In geisha-girl make-up. In Fayetteville, Arkansas. (In case you’re wondering, there is no terrifying like the terrifying of two thousand people all slowly chanting, “Soooooooooey Pig…” in unison. It was like the college football version of Lord of the Flies.)

3) Seen any good theatre lately?
Yeah, Spain by DIY Theatre. There were eight people in the audience and one of them was the playwright. But don’t worry, I hear they’re bringing Phantom back.

4) What’s the best thing to spend money on?
Investments. I’m sorry, I don’t know where that answer came from. Groceries and rent.

5) What should everyone stop doing?
Believing liars and ignoring their environment.

6) What’s the best thing about theatre in Toronto?
It refuses to give up.

7) Johnny Depp or Sean Penn?
Sean Penn by a nose. Although I hear that All The King’s Men is insufferable. Apparently it’s an exact reprisal of his role in I Am Sam only with more screaming.

8) Who would you most like to work with, but haven’t yet?
Would have said Daniel Brooks until last week. Ah screw it, Daniel Brooks. Two days doesn’t cut it.

9) Do you have any unifying theories when it comes to acting?
I think good stage-acting is more like good film-acting than people want to think, especially in smaller venues. Also, when you play a role I think you should use as much of yourself as possible, because you’ve had your whole life to work on the character and it’s probably going to be more interesting than a limp or a stutter. Unless you already do those things; then by all means, incorporate them.

10) What are you working on these days?
Co-creating and directing UnSpun Theatre’s Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, running from November 29th to December 16th at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts.