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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Tom Stoppard
Publisher: Samuel French, Inc.
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 108
Pub. Date: 1967
ISBN-10: 057361492X
ISBN-13: 9780573614927
Cast Size: 2 women, 14 men, 12 extras

About the Play:

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

Winner of both the Tony and New York Drama Critics Circle awards

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a full-length comedy by Tom Stoppard. The events of William Shakespeare's Hamlet are treated in dark comedic fashion by Tom Stoppard as seen from the points of view of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet's friends at court who are being sent to their deaths by forces they are unable to comprehend. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm's-eve view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two college chums of Hamlet. Their story is what happened behind the scenes in Shakespeare's play. In Tom Stoppard's best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role. What were they doing there in Elsinore anyway? "I don't know; we were sent for." They are not only anti agents, but also anti sympathy, anti identification, and in fact anti persons, which is uniquely demonstrated by their having such a hard time recollecting which of them goes by what name. The Players come and go; Prince Hamlet comes through reading words, words, words; foul deeds are done; Hamlet is sent abroad, escapes death; and in turn Rosencrantz and Guildenstern find their "only exit is death." Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead has played across the globe, been adapted into an award-winning film and is now as recognizable as the classic on which it is based.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was first staged in 1966 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, by a student company, the Oxford Theatre Group. The play transferred to the National Theatre in 1967 and made the 29-year-old Tom Stoppard's reputation virtually overnight. The play's success did not end there: it was the first National production to transfer to Broadway, where its subsequent run brought it the same enthusiastic acclaim. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional repertory, middle school, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 2 women, 14 men, 12 extras, and 6 musicians

What people say:

"Very funny, very brilliant, very chilling; it has the dust of thought about it and the particles glitter excitingly in the theatrical air." — New York Times

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead [is] verbally dazzling ... the most exciting, witty intellectual treat imaginable." — The New Yorker

"A stimulating, funny, imaginative comedy." — New York Daily News

"One of the most original and engaging of post-war plays." — Daily Telegraph

About the Playwright:

Sir Tom Stoppard (born Tomás Straüssler) is a Czech-born British playwright and screenwriter. His family had to flee to Singapore at the onset of the Nazi invasion. The family moved to England in 1946, where he left school at the age of seventeen to work for The Western Daily Press, in Bristol. He was catapulted into the front ranks of modern playwrights overnight when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead opened in London in 1967, for which he was awarded a Tony, the Prix Italia, the New York Critic's Award, and Plays and Players Award for Best New Play. He has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, and in 1998 shared a best original screenplay Oscar for Shakespeare in Love. He was knighted in 1997.

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