“Charming spot. Inspiring prospects,” Estragon of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot says. Based on the reaction, much of the full house is thinking, “My sentiments exactly.” Estragon, played by John Beane, is surveying the room at Insurgo’s opening night in the Plaza, making a sweeping motion with his hand like he’s looking out over a prospect of hills. He could just as easily be referring to the theater group’s new space.
The new theater is as intimate as the old Bastard Theater in New Orleans Square, with a few upgrades, including an elevated stage and a huge lounge that is part of the small third-floor casino. Other changes include table-style seating (think dinner theater). This arrangement may come at the expense of comfort: Hard-backed chairs can be difficult to sit in for long stretches for some. Plus, if you’re on a date, you might not have the privacy you envisioned. Theatergoing, however, is about experiencing art as a community, and Insurgo’s productions almost always make up for a sore backside.
Many in attendance on opening night seemed to be enjoying themselves, seated at candlelit tables and taking advantage of the new tableside cocktail service. Adult drinks do come in handy if, say, Beckett’s absurdist French clowns are lost on you. Fortunately, the typically high-caliber acting of Ernie Curcio (as Vladimir) and Beane, along with a handful of other talented actors like Brandon McClenahan (as Pozzo) made Insurgo’s new ambiance an added bonus instead of the feature attraction.