Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Heads! . . . Heads! . . . Heads!

On Saturday, I went to see Tom Stoppard’s play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at DC’s Studio Theater. This play fit in very well with our ongoing Shakespeare project, since the main characters are two minor characters in Hamlet who aren’t mentioned often but do have something integral to do with the plot. They are old friends of Hamlet’s who are sent to keep him company and find out why he is behaving so oddly. They play delves quite a bit into the nature of life and death, while giving a backstory of the types of characters who are usually just afterthoughts in plays.

It was a very funny production in a very intimate setting, and the actors gave a wonderful performance. The gentleman who portrayed “The Player,” reminded us very much of Peter O’Toole. My friend thought that the main characters should have been played a bit more vaudevillian-slapstick-y, but I’m not so sure.

If you get a chance to see this performed in your area, do go. There’s lots of great dialogue to sink your teeth into:

Rosencrantz: Do you think Death could possibly be a boat?
Guildenstern: No, no, no... Death is "not." Death isn't. Take my meaning? Death is the ultimate negative. Not-being. You can't not be on a boat.
Rosencrantz: I've frequently not been on boats.
Guildenstern: No, no... What you've been is not on boats.


Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking, "Well. At least I'm not dead.'


[Guildenstern is pretending to be Hamlet]
Rosencrantz: To sum up: your father, whom you love, dies. You are his heir. You come back to find that hardly was the corpse cold before his young brother pops onto his throne and into his sheets, thereby offending both legal and natural practice. Now... why exactly are you behaving in this extraordinary manner?
Guildenstern: I can't imagine.

Now on to Macbeth!

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