Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead"

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note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Larry Stark


"Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead"

by Tom Stoppard
Directed by Samuel Reich

Set Design by Janie Howland
Lighting design by Stephen Buck
Art Design by Cheryl Allen
Costume by Design by Ricardo Enrico
Sound Design by Jack Dustar

Rosencrantz................Scott Oldham
Guildenstern................Samuel Reich
The Player............................Jeff Gill
Alfred...............Andrew McCormick
Tragedian/Guard.........Jason Audette
Tragedian/Guard....Edward Tournier
Hamlet..........................John Herring
Gertrude.............Mary Alice Holmes
Claudius.....................Ken LeTendre
Horatio....................Robert Isaacson
Polonius...................Gene Flemming
Ophelia....................Christina Voros

When the two hosted "Saturday Night Live" Peter Cook (or was it Dudley Moore?) explained "For those of you who don't know which of us is which --- I'm the tall one." In the Unpremeditated production of "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead" those two are equally mixed up, even confused themselves, but Samuel Reich is the short one (and the director, and the producer) and Scott Oldham the tall one, the energy from everyone onstage is unflagging, the inventiveness and timing astonishing --- the only thing missing is an audience prepared to roll in the aisles watching brilliant theater.

Despite their name there is nothing whatever unpremeditated about this show. Samuel Reich suggests the life of these two bit-characters while they are Not onstage by having that royal family of Denmark play scenes from "Hamlet" rather loudly out in the lobby; Janie Howland's set and most of Ricardo Enrico's costumes are rigorously black & white; The Player's black hat is big enough to hide a cat in; and Tom Stoppard's script plays endless games (theatrical-, philosophical-, literary-, and word-games for a start) so the cast and director feel free to add many of their own.

If anyone reading this has never seen Stoppard's play, or Shakespeare's play, no plot-summary of either could be possible. Suffice it to say, these two old friends of Prince Hamlet wander about the stage trying to figure out why they were asked to come to the palace, what's made the prince apparently mad, how they can get him to tell what's up, and what's the purpose of life, the universe, and everything. If their bulbs were a bit brighter their lives would be tragic (and they'd get more scenes and more lines in Wilm Shaxpy's play), but since they're ordinary bumblers it's tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.

Rollicking good comedy, too --- physical, cerebral, historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral and just plain falling-down funny. And all that in a nearly empty house! Think what it will be like when you and your many, many friends fill that house with your laughter....

Love,
===Anon.


"Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead" (till 1 July)
UNPREMEDITATED PRODUCTIONS
Tower Auditorium, Mass College of Art, 621 Huntington Avenue, BOSTON
1(617) 887-2336


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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