ZagLab Initiative Starting June 8

Thursday, June 8, 2017

SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University faculty, students and alumni are partnering with local artists, environmental groups and Terrain to present Samuel Beckett’s iconic tragicomedy, “Waiting for Godot,” at the Washington Cracker Building art-space (304 W. Pacific Ave.) June 8-11 and Sept. 7, 9-10.

The show is the inaugural project from ZagLab, an experimental joint initiative of Gonzaga’s departments of art and theatre and dance. The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. June 8-10 with a 2 p.m. matinee on June 11. All tickets are $20 and can be purchased through Eventbrite. Performances feature a pre-show, intermission and post-show sustainability fair, which connects local environmental action groups – including Spokane Riverkeeper, Environmental Action Team and the City of Spokane’s environment and sustainability office – with the audience.

ZagLab pursues original, interdisciplinary artistic collaborations, encourages artistic risk-taking, and fosters creative inquiry among students, faculty and guest artists. Modeled after New York University’s Experimental Theatre Wing and the University of Idaho’s Vandal Theatre Lab, the initiative aims to create new work that responds to pertinent regional and global issues while challenging accepted borders between artistic disciplines. In addition to Terrain, it has received support at Gonzaga from the women’s and gender studies and English departments, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry, and the sustainability office.

The outdoor set features a ceramic art installation depicting a melting glacial field. The installation is a collaboration between artist J.J. McCracken, co-director of Red Dirt Studio in Washington, D.C., and Mat Rude, Gonzaga assistant professor of ceramics and sculpture. The installation will naturally degrade over time.

“We want our theatre and dance students to be able to work in a variety of situations,” said Charlie Pepiton, director and assistant professor of theatre and dance at Gonzaga. “This gets the performers, artists and audience out of their comfort zones.”

McCracken creates sculptures, performances and immersive installations centered on free speech, social justice and resource equality. Her 2016 work “The Mouth of Scold” was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

“Waiting for Godot” is often used as an artistic means to comment upon a societal problem. In this case, the play will underscore environmental degradation. Pepiton and Courtney Smith, assistant professor of theatre and dance, worked closely with Jim Simon, Gonzaga’s director of sustainability, to represent concerns and implications of climate change.

“Essentially, the message of our production is that we have created the problem of climate change, and it’s our responsibility to make necessary changes,” Pepiton said. “Two of the characters wait in a wasteland for a man named Godot because he is supposed to save them. The characters represent all of us waiting for someone else to act.”

For more information, contact Charlie Pepiton at (509) 313-6357 or