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4/18/2003 Linfield's Pioneer Theatre presents its final act

McMINNVILLE – The stage lights will fade to black for the final time in the Linfield College Pioneer Theatre in May.

In a tribute to the Pioneer Theatre, students and faculty will present "Waiting for Godot," the first play performed at that location in 1969. Performances will be May 8-10 and 15-17 at 8 p.m.

Students and faculty are anticipating the opening of the new theatre on the Keck Campus this summer. The facility will include a flexible studio theatre with audience seating capacity of up to 140, more than double the seating in Pioneer, according to Ty Marshall, professor of theatre, who is directing the play.

"We chose 'Godot' because of its significance to the theatre in Pioneer," Marshall added. "Since (Pioneer Theatre's) opening, the theatre department has been waiting for new facilities and our hopes have finally become a reality. This piece completes the circle in the old theatre and opens the door to a new chapter in Linfield Theatre Department history. 'Godot' has finally come."

"Waiting for Godot," which first opened in Paris in 1953, was a hit in postwar Europe because of its existentialist philosophy during the rebuilding of the continent. The story focuses on two indigent men who spend their time as painlessly as possible waiting for Godot, a person who will explain their interminable existence or help end their suffering. They are resourceful men who continually quarrel but are ultimately dependent upon one another. The play is an expression of man's resilience in the face of hopelessness.

"Waiting for Godot" debuted at Linfield in the fall of 1969, when Paul Little, former director of theatre at Linfield, directed the play in the Pioneer Faculty Lounge where the current Pioneer Theatre is today. Platforms were constructed into a makeshift stage and older furniture was used as seating.

"Little’s decision had ominous overtones. That winter the Frerichs Hall Theatre burned to the ground and from then on all theatre activity centered in Pioneer Hall," recalled Tom Gressler, professor emeritus of theatre at Linfield.

The play re-appeared at Linfield in 1982 when three students produced it as a vaudeville show after reading the piece in a theatre history class.

Tickets are $4 for students, faculty and staff and $5 for the general public. Tickets can be reserved by calling 503-883-2292 or by e-mail at