ASB season of
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
By Tom Stoppard
25 APR - 26 MAY 2001 — Comedy
Auckland Theatre Company
2 hours and 30 minutes, with a 15 minute interval
Co-author of Shakespeare in Love, Stoppard’s Tony award-winning comedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead brought him overnight international success when it first opened in 1967.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead places two of Hamlet's most intriguing characters in the limelight However, its contrast to the Shakespearean classic is drastic, this time seen through the eyes of two of Hamlet’s bit-players, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Randomly summoned to the Court of Elsinore but, as ever, uncertain of their whereabouts, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern await instruction by placing bets on the toss of a coin. As they ponder on the significance of the coin coming down heads 85 times in a row, they are interrupted by a troupe of Elsinore-bound actors, with whom they are catapulted into a whirling dervish of royal intrigue, curiously poetic dialect and the afflictions of Prince Hamlet. Struggling to comprehend their role in his drama and find meaning in their predicament, the hapless duo soon find themselves on a slow boat to Eternity, with only Fate’s fickle hand at the helm.
With whipcracking dialogue and a dizzying plot that weaves in and out of Shakespeare’s original, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is a masterpiece of slapstick existentialism.