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Full text of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead"

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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2009 with funding from 

Selwyn House School 

Senior Players Present 


aS!:l:;:;;i::. ^ / 


Are Dead 

Directed, loy 
Alex Ivctnovlci 

About the Play 

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead 


Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, having forgotten their summons to 
I lanilct's castle at Elsinorc, are passing the time tossing coins and musing over 
a continuous and seemingly impossible run of heads over tails. As they 
renKinber their, they are approached by a band of tragedians led by the 
IMayer, who offers them a "private" performance with Alfred, a boy actor. After 
some wagering with the Player, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern request a play 
but are quickly transported to Elsinore before it begins. 

At the castle they are greeted by Claudius and Gertrude who tell them of 
Mamlets "transformation" and their wish that the two attend him and fmd the 
cause. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern play a game of questions with each other 
to prepare for the task but when they encounter Hamlet they become 
frustrated by his answers. 

With Rosencrantz and Guildenstern looking on, Hamlet commands the 
Player to perform a play. The Murder of Gonzago, "to catch the conscience of 
the King". Gertrude enters and questions them about their conversation with 
Hamlet and they report his interest in the players. Claudius tells them to 
encourage him in that pursuit. 

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern watch the tragedians' dress rehearsal of The 
Murder of Gonzago, replete with alterations. The play now includes two Spies 
who are executed in the final scene. 

Claudius tells Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that Polonius has been slain 
by Hamlet. He orders them to bring Hamlet and the body of Polonius to the 
chapel. They encounter Hamlet but he escapes, dragging the dead body with 
hull. When Hamlet is found again, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are ordered 
by Claudius tt) accompany him on a ship bound for England and to deliver a 
letter to the English King. On Board, they discover the letter orders Hamlets 

p. 2 

When pirates attack the ship, Hamlet escapes. Rosencrantz and Guildcnstern 
discover that Claudius' letter has been switched by Hamlet. The letter that should 
have brought them favor now orders their deaths. As they contemplate their 
situation, the action switches to Denmark where an Ambassador brings the news 
that "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead." 

The Play's Origin and Production History 

The origin of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead dates back to 1 963 when 
Stoppard's agent suggested that he write a comedy about what might happen if 
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern went to England and encountered a raving mad 
King Lear at Dover. The original version, written in 1964, was a one-act farce, 
whose failure Stoppard readily admits to. 

Stoppard reworked the play by returning to the framework of Hamlet, and, in 
1965, a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company who had heard about the play, 
requested the first two acts and commissioned a third. The RSCs twelve month 
option on the play expired, so the play was presented by Oxford students as part of 
the Fringe of the Edinburgh Festival in August of 1966. Ronald Bryden's review for 
The Observer called it "the most brilliant debut by a young playwright since John 
Arden's erudite comedy, punning, far-fetched, leaping from depth to dizziness." 
This glowing review prompted The National to buy the rights to the play and, in 
April of 1967, the play was presented in a revised version at the Old Vic Theatre. 

Including radio plays, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was the eleventh 
play written by Stoppard but the first to gain great success, acclaim, and a wide 

p. 3 


Act One 

Roscncrain/ Basil Karim 

Guildcnstcrn Theo McLauchlin 

Act Two 

Roscncrain/ Justin Greenberg 

Guildcnstcrn Alexis Asselin 

Act Three 

Roscncrant/ Sean McKinnon 

Guildcnstcrn Gabriel Brown 

The Player Mark Turetsky 

Hamlet Ian Ratzer 


Lauren Brownstein 
(Trafalgar School) 

Claudius Jordan Goldwarg 

Gertrude Tegan Webster 

(Trafalgar School) 

Polonius Chris Sakara 

Horatio Hans Black 

Alfred Zaven Gunjian 

Soldier Alex Black 

p. 4 

Ambassadors Anuraag Sakscna 

Clifford Add man 

Tragedians P^l^l^* Duraiia 

Jaimie Finkclstcin 

(Trafalgar School) 

Mohammed Mahayiii 

Vidal Sadaka 

Gabriel Taraboulsy 

pjj-jfgj Mary Ellen Viau's Drama Club 

f^^jj^. The Trouba-Doon: 

Jeremy Baskm 

Marthew Busbridge 

Tim Dobby 

David KiK'clu 

A 5 

Production Crew 


Alex Ivanovici 

Aiiiitnnt Director & Stage Manager 
Assistant Stage Manager 

Hans Black 
Ned Maloncy 



Set Design 
Lighting Design 
Costume Design 
Lighting Board Operator 

Michael O'Gorman (chieO 

Stephane Azoulay 

Caleb Bouharie 

Asim Khan 

Shoaib Rabani 

Yousef Rehman 

Alex Tsoukas 

Mark Buntrock 

Duncan Morgan 

Heidi Van Regan 

Michael O'Gorman 

Virginia Ferguson 
Kathy Funamoto, Irene Lunt, Pina Salusbury 
Maria Trart, Mary Ellen Viau, Loraync Winn 

Programme, Ticket & Poster Design, and Photography 
Poster & Ticket Design 
Tickets & House Management 

Maria Tract 

Mark Turetsky 

Brenda Montgomery 
Jennifer Wells 

p. 6 

Acknowledgements & Thanks 

Stephanie Baptist 

Centaur Theatre 

Marc Krushelnyski 

Christine Krushelnyski 

George Diaz 

Mardo Hernandez 

Wilham Mitchell 

Robin Paterson 

Annabel Soutar 

Mary Thomas 

Simplicio Urgel 

Jim Cousins 
Jean Baillorgeon 

Maria Tratt 

Jaime McMillan 

Mary Ellen Viau 

Virginia Ferguson & her make-up team 

Rob Wearing 

Trafalgar School 

Pat Shannon 

Kathy Biggs 

Brian Aucoin 

Sue-Anne Pham 

Brenda Montgomery 

Jennifer Wells 


Directors Notes 

When I first considered directing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are 
DeaA it occurred to mc that this would suit both Dr. Byron 
Marker's heralded Shakespearean tradition and my personal 
penchant for the absurd and abstract. I was also drawn in by Tom 
Stoppard's witty existential repartee and a pair of lovable clowns. Rosencrantz and 
Cluildenstcrn question who, what, why, when and how they are, with such humour 
and confused precision that I deemed it an interesting challenge for the Senior 
students of Sclwyn House. Beyond philosophical provocation, this play offers an 
alluring [u-rspective on theatre itself, defending its finer points; using the "play 
within a play, within a play" convention to explore the need for theatre. Ask 
yourself the questions, as we did, and watch as we try to communicate our answers. 

p. 8