New York | Already closed

Waiting for Godot (New Yiddish Rep)

From 8 critic and 3 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Relevant, Ambitious, Smart, Confusing

About the show

New Yiddish Rep presents a new staging of Samuel Beckett's masterwork, performed entirely in Yiddish with English super-titles. More…

The dark and often humorous language of "Waiting for Godot" comments upon the absurdity of humanity, how we expect and hope, despite evidence to the contrary, that someone - God, a hero, a messiah - will arrive and resolve our existential questions.

Travelers USA Notebook

“A deeply moving production...Baker’s translation is pitch perfect, underscoring the sadness, off-kilter humor and mute horror of existence...The brutality, despair, even moments of hope, seem best expressed in Yiddish. It is not only an evocative, lilting language, but defined a culture once marked for annihilation. Yet it, like the inhabitants of Godot, survives...Muszkatblit has assembled a strong quartet that delivers Beckett’s worldview with pathos, hitting exactly the right tone." Full Review


"New Yiddish Rep is staging a Yiddish translation of 'Godot,' performed with English supertitles by Eli Rosen. Language notwithstanding, this version of Beckett's tale of existential angst is accessible and mysterious, also equally funny and sad as all 'Godot''s should be. Despite the dire situation that the four main characters find themselves in, they scratch at their dreary existence to find even the most evanescent signs of hope-evanescent being the key word." Full Review

Lavender After Dark

"While showing enormous respect to the playwright’s original vision, 'Waiting For Godot' is now being given a new life...The performances are no less than astonishing. Eli Rosen is affecting as Vladimir/Didi...As the more simplistic Estragon/Gogo, David Mandelbaum delivers an idiosyncratic mix of comedy and pathos...Thanks to this piece’s direction and the skill of the actors, even those who already know if and when Godot arrives will wait in the same way that Didi and Gogo are waiting." Full Review


"It’s hard to love 'Godot.' Even in Beckett’s English version, there’s just too much of nothing happening...It’s not the text, in English or Yiddish, that makes this production work. It’s the feel of the characters. In fact, if you just watch the actors, and let the show wash over you, you’ll get a lot out of it. In some ways, this is the most likable 'Waiting for Godot' imaginable...If 'Waiting for Godot' is your kind of theater, though, then go see this version." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Beckett's familiar, plotless depiction of Gogo and Didi's existence as displaced persons in the bleak wasteland of a possibly God-less universe takes on a new life…An aura of Jewish suffering…pervades the performance…Each performance is carefully molded, making moment to moment sense of Beckett's…enigmatic writing…A principal drawback…will be how dreary, even dispirited, most of this version seems…this 'Godot' can drag, especially when its comedy is muted." Full Review

Off Off Online

“While the approach may not appeal to casual theatergoers, Beckett devotees will find much to savor....The effect generally works, but at times the leisurely pace and alienating supertitles can be wearying...Individually, Rosen and, in particular, Mandelbaum offer convincing and moving portrayals, but as a tragicomic duo, they do not always seem to be in sync...While this ‘Godot’ may not be the revelatory production theatergoers have been awaiting, it offers an intriguing new perspective.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Issues are as relevant today as they were when the play was first performed 66 years ago. Nonetheless, this version of 'Godot' is too long, especially for audience members who need to rely on supertitles to understand what’s happening. At a certain point tedium takes over and the play feels interminable, as if we, too, are waiting for Godot to rescue us. Despite this, Beckett’s masterwork remains potent." Full Review

The Times of Israel

"While the overlong production, directed by Ronit Muszkatblit, has its flaws, it nevertheless demonstrates yet again the power of Yiddish to shed new light not just on Jewish plays but on great works of world drama...This new production, which runs close to three hours, is a bit of slog; while Rosen and Mandelbaum are both convincing and sympathetic in their performances, there are such long pauses between each of their speeches that any sense of immediacy is lost." Full Review

Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Ambitious

See it if You want to see a Yiddish interpretation of Waiting for Godot. Excellent acting and beautiful flow of the language.

Don't see it if You don’t enjoy supertitles or Beckett’s plays. You need more action. I thought the translation was appropriate to the intent of the play.

Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You don't mind reading sub titles and listening to the show in Yiddish.

Don't see it if If you don't like reading sub titles and listening to the play in yiddish.

During previews
Unflinching, Uneven, What a lovely moon!, Affecting, Smart

See it if you'd like to see a modern classic translated to an ethnic milieu that feels fully natural & discovers fresh depths to the play.

Don't see it if you are looking for light fare for the year-end holidays: though consistently funny, this play is deadly serious.

Also Samuel Beckett, who would serve heroically in the French Resistance, f... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (12)