The Renaissance Project LA

Celebrating Our First Ten Years

Paul Chan / “Waiting for Godot”

Christopher McElroen, cofounder of the Classical Theatre of Harlem and the play’s director, said to me at one point that the play was the smallest component and our biggest headache. He was right. More than right, he touched on the true scope of the project. We wanted the play to work — to work brilliantly even — on those streets, in that city. But to imagine that the play was the thing is to miss the thing. We didn’t simply want to stage a site-specific performance of Godot. We wanted to create, in the process of staging the play, an image of art as a form of reason. What I mean is that we wanted to use the idea of doing the play as the departure point for inaugurating a series of causes and effects that would bind the artists, the people in New Orleans, and the city together in a relationship that would make each responsible for the other. The project, in other words, was an experiment in using art to organize a new image of life in the city two years after the storm.”

Paul Chan