Many of us, I will not say all because that is too presumptuous, are familiar with the writings of Willam Shakespeare, a fifteenth century author turned playright. Personally, I have found all of his writings to be an inexhaustible source of pleasure. Through compulsory reading in the United States’ educational system, many students have read no more of him than was required. Due to my mother being a Professor of English Literature, the writings of William Shakespeare became more prolific and appreciated in my life.
With that being said (written), I recently audienced a different twist of Shakespeare’s ever-popular drama “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.” The characters Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, courtiers in the original, centuries old manuscript, are the main characters in this particular play. Entitled “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead,” written by Tom Stoppard and directed by Scott O’Neal, is done so in jest of the original and particularly famous play.
Here is how it goes: “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead” shares the plot of the original Hamlet by William Shakespeare. “(1.) Hamlet’s father, the King of Denmark, dies. (2.) Hamlet’s Uncle, Claudius, becomes king and marries Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude. (3.) Hamlet’s father appears as a ghost and tells Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius. (4.) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, school friends of Hamlet, are enlisted to find out what has been bothering Hamlet, but Hamlet does not trust them. (5.) Players arrive; Hamlet sets a trap for his uncle by having the players re-enact the murder of his father. (6.) Hamlet pretends to be insane to Ophelia, his lover. (7.) Claudius leaves the performance, greatly disturbed. (8.) Hamlet kills Polonius, thinking he is Claudius. (9.) Hamlet is placed on a ship to England where, according to a letter provided to Resencrantz and Guildenstern by Claudius, he will be executed. (10.) The ship is attacked by pirates who take Hamlet prisoner but then return to Denmark. (11.) After her father is killed, Ophelia, goes mad and drowns. (12.) Laertes, Ophelia’s brother, fueled by revenge, plots a duel to kill Hamlet using a sword with poison on it. (13.) Claudius prepares poisoned wine for Hamlet to drink in case that does not work. (14.) Both Hamlet and Laertes are wounded by the poisonous sword. (15.) Gertrude mistakenly drinks the poisoned wine and dies. (16.) Laertes tells Hamlet about the plot, then dies. (17.) Hamlet then kills Claudius and dies.”
Phew! It is definitely much better when seen in person. Having been creatively innovative, I congratulate not only the actors but the production staff as well. Long live…well, everybody!