This year, the company has muscled up, producing "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," in repertory with "Hamlet."
The play owes as much to "Waiting for Godot" as it does "Hamlet." Actors
Prewitt's Rosencrantz is more at ease in his skin, willing to smile and ride with the tide. As the two flip coins and it comes up heads -- 96 times in a row -- he shares none of Guildenstern's wary skepticism. He just considers it happy luck.
Along with his existential quest and absurdist play architecture, Stoppard draws tightly a comparison between theater and life. Is the way we perceive reality influenced and determined by what we see in fiction? All the world is a stage, right?
The playwright also reduces "Hamlet" from a mythic persona to a rather small figure in his own story. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were, after all, brought to Elsinore to talk with Hamlet and find out what is going on in that boy's head. In his own play, Hamlet clouds his thoughts in eloquence. Guildenstern and Rosencrantz are blunt and direct.
"Let's see," says Guildenstern. Hamlet's father was assassinated, and, despite the prince being of age, his uncle usurps the throne and marries Hamlet's mother.
So that's what that play is about.
Rando has created wonderful moments for his actors. Gould and Prewitt carry the work on their shoulders. They are not as richly human as older actors might be, but their enthusiasm and agility makes their performances enjoyable. One thing Rando has not done is keep the work buoyant as it pushes toward its 150-minute conclusion. But then "Hamlet" has never been a quick walk in the park.
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