Last weekend, about an hour before sunset, the touristy end of Seattle's waterfront was packed with its usual crowd of summer characters: fatigued-looking fathers in sandals fielding repeated requests from small children who wanted ice cream, plump ladies in flip-flops hauling themselves into bicycle taxis, a young white man strumming a guitar for spare change, an older black man blowing a trumpet for the same reason, and the inevitable grimy-looking kids with backpacks and cardboard signs asking for donations, most of them wearing worn-down boots and ripped-up black denim decorated with beer bottle caps and faded patches with the names of bands.
Two of those apocalyptic-looking kids loitered at Waterfront Park, the next pier over from the new Ferris wheel. One of them stood at a railing, gazing intently across Puget Sound. The other sat on a wood pallet, trying to pull off a boot. The only notable difference between them and the other waterfront vagabonds was their slightly cleaner fingernails and their audience—a few dozen people sitting in folding chairs in the fading sunlight. The boot-puller (wearing a hunting cap with earflaps) stopped, sighed, and said: "Nothing to be done." The sea-gazer (wearing a cap with tattered cloth taped on the back to protect his neck from the sun) turned and said: "I'm beginning to come round to that opinion."
With that, Waiting for Godot, the second annual show by Arts on the Waterfront, had begun. The actors stuck closely to the text, but the show looked and felt different than other Godots. The actors were young. And they weren't wearing the required bowler hats.