I’ve liked every Stoppard piece I’ve seen, but I’ve never seen Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead until tonight. It was the movie version – perhaps I’ll see the play since it is being produced locally in a few months. It would be interesting to contrast and compare. The movie was very clever – the script, the plot and visually there was a constant kaleidoscope of interesting and entertaining twists and turns as we see Hamlet played out from the point of view of two very minor characters who are lost in a strange world where coins always land as “heads” and they can’t remember who they are (which is which?) or where they came from. Now and then they stumble upon various people (Hamlet, for example) and reflexively say and do things for reasons they don’t afterwards understand. I loved the part where it is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who bumble into the eves-dropping Polonius who lets out a little shriek which then causes Hamlet to kill him behind a curtain. They are shown obvious hints that they will die, but don’t have a clue.
The youtube video excerpt provides a taste:
Stoppard’s play makes us think about our own lives – how unreal our lives sometimes seem – as if we too are merely following a script that we can’t quite discern. No matter how we try to escape it, the play clicks and whirs – an incomprehensible mechanism – that carries us to the inevitable conclusion.