Is it possible to make classic characters live their own life and seek for answers to existential questions? Is it possible to make absurd be credible? Of course, it is possible. Beyond all doubt, Tom Stoppard’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead that was put on stage by the Department of Visual and Performing Arts of Clarion University has proved this point.
We will write a custom Term Paper on “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” by Tom Stoppard specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The first thing that comes to my mind when I recollect all the impressions after watching the performance is that the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is meant for the prepared audience that regularly attends the theater or at least reads classic and modern dramatical pieces. I must admit that after long and confusing dialogues of main characters in the first act I was not sure that I was ready to see the rest of the performance. However, I decided that a work of art cannot be judged if one sees only some part of it. Indeed, in the second act, the plot started to develop literally by leaps and bounds, and I did not regret my decision to stay until the end of the performance.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead may be considered as a modern play in which two minor characters from the classic world of Shakespeare’s Hamlet occupy the central role in the plot. This play is rather debatable since the very idea of taking the classic characters and providing them with their own theatrical space seems somewhat preposterous and even absurd. However, on reflection, I concluded that perhaps it is the most brilliant feature of this play. If one attempts to understand the essence of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s wanderings, they will see that these two characters struggle in their search for the meaning of life in the world that does not have any sense. The inner absurdity of the play that concerns the plot corresponds to the external absurdity that is explained by the author’s idea to write the so-called sequel to Hamlet.
Putting such existentialist tragicomedy as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead on the stage requires much effort. The director, drama group, and assisting crew that included sound technicians, lighting technicians, and dressers carried out a magnificent work that cannot be considered as merely entertaining but thought-provoking. The most surprising thing for me was the acting of the drama group. Prior to this experience, I was convinced that there is one type of theatrical acting, “classical” acting in which actors use standard intonations, tones, gestures, mimics, etc. Since Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is the modern existentialist play, curiously enough, the “classical” acting would create an impression of artificiality. However, the actors have their style of acting that did not turn the absurdist play into farce. On the contrary, they managed to interweave the absurdity with stunningly touching truthfulness, putting a special sense in all words so that the dialogs ceased to seem meaningless and eventually assumed the witty character. On the whole, the performance makes the audience to take a new look at the well-known plot and forget about the familiar “to be or not to be” (Shakespeare 3.1.60).
Suddenly, the phrase “Every exit is an entry somewhere else” acquires a new meaning (Stoppard 1.207). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead made it possible for me to reconsider my attitude to the theater and modern plays. When I left the theater auditorium, I realized that the modern plays give people the brilliant opportunity to take a new look at the familiar things and provide substantial food for thought.
Shakespeare, William. “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.” World Wide Web Consortium, Web.
Stoppard, Tom. “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.” My Chandler Schools, Web.