“Godot” is a play that Ms. Hynes, Druid’s artistic director, felt no need to revive when Mr. Monaghan, Mr. Rea and two other company members — Rory Nolan, who plays Pozzo, and Garrett Lombard, who plays Lucky — asked her if they could do it. For over a year, she said, she resisted the idea.
The actors themselves, Mr. Monaghan said, thought they were decades too young for the roles. The characters are usually played by older men, though that’s dictated by tradition, not Beckett’s text. But they were looking for a four-hander to do together, and after Ms. Hynes scheduled it for a short run in Galway in 2016, it became an unexpected hit.
In retrospect, Mr. Monaghan attributes some of the production’s energy to the fact that he, anyway, didn’t yet understand “Godot.”
“I didn’t know how the play operated,” he said. “I didn’t know what it was about. And within that, as an actor, you panic. I’m not making excuses, but you maybe overcompensate with physicality or comedy or timing or rhythm or volume or color.” All of which, he added, is now played with a lighter hand.
At the museum, with Gogo on his mind, he stood before van Gogh’s “Shoes.”
In Beckett’s blasted landscape, Gogo has boots that don’t fit and fetid feet that hurt. When he manages to extract them from their boots, they’re painfully red. In this existentialist tragicomedy, footwear is one of Gogo’s major concerns.
“It’s funny,” Mr. Monaghan said, sizing up the painting. “I saw it out of the corner of my head, and I went, ‘Shoes, boots, cool.’ But my thought was, ‘They’re not the right boots.’”