Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead By Tom Stoppard, Directed by Geoff Elliott October 7 – November 18, 2018
Published : Tuesday, October 9, 2018 | 4:35 PM
A Noise Within (ANW) presents Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, the Tony Award-winning play that first brought Stoppard to the attention of an international audience – a position he has held in the half century since its premiere in 1967. ANW Producing Artistic Director Geoff Elliott directs. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead performs from October 7 to November 18.
Hamlet is turned topsy turvy in this brilliant comedy that thrusts Shakespeare’s two minor characters to the frontlines with no rules except one: they are destined to die. Trapped in a universe where the flip of a coin always comes up heads and pirates can pop-up anytime, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern engage in a battle of wits to try to escape their fate and make sense of a senseless world.
This is not the first time that Stoppard’s sharp wit and comedic genius has come to A Noise Within’s stage. Arcadia received an LA Times Critic’s Choice as well as widespread critical and audience acclaim in ANW’s 25th anniversary season. Geoff Elliott is thrilled to be directing another one of Stoppard’s works. Elliott says, “I fell in love with Stoppard the first time I read Arcadia. I could not put it down. It was the same with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”
Elliott continues, “The play is a metaphor for our lives, from the time we’re born until we die. The experience Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go through is really what we all go through. The play is dealing with life—which is a heavy description, but keep in mind, it’s hilarious. Although it ends in their deaths, as we know from the title, getting there is an absolute hoot. At the end, it’s not so much sad as it is mysterious: a true and incredibly crafted work of genius.”
A Noise Within is not the only institution to recognize Stoppard’s intellectual ingenuity this year. The United States Academic Decathlon has chosen Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead as the selected literature for their 2018-19 curriculum with the theme “The 1960s: A Transformational Decade.” The nationwide program is focusing 40% of its entire literature curriculum on this play.
Clive Barnes, reviewing the play in 1967 in The New York Times, said, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is a very funny play … a most remarkable and thrilling play. In one bound, Mr. Stoppard is asking to be considered among the finest English speaking writers of our stage, for this is a work of fascinating distinction. It has the dust of thought about it and the particles glitter exactingly in the theatrical air.”
Elliott believes the thoughts provoked by Stoppard have an almost magical effect on the audience. “Stoppard is such a genius that he is able to help us feel as though we are smarter than we probably are. By the end of watching a production of his, you really feel as though you understand these concepts and why they are important to our lives.”
Tickets for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, starting at $25, are available online at www.anoisewithin.org and by phone by calling (626) 356-3121.
Symposium, Conversations, Pay What You Can
The run of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead includes a symposium from a noted scholar at 6:45pm on October 10, 2018 and a post-show conversation on October 21, October 26, and November 9, 2018. Pay What You Can nights are October 10, 2018 at 7:30 pm and October 11, 2018 at 7:30pm.
The cast includes (*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States)
Rosencrantz: Kasey Mahaffy*
Guildenstern: Rafael Goldstein*
The Player: Wesley Mann*
Polonius: Apollo Dukakis*
Alfred: Sam Christian
Claudius: Jonathan Bray*
Hamlet: Paul David Story*
Horatio: Michael Yapujian
Gertrude: Abby Craden*
Ophelia: Katie Rodriguez
Ambassador: Marc Leclerc
Tragedian: Matt Jennings
Tragedian: Jonathan Fisher
Tragedian: Philip Rodriguez
Tragedian: Oscar Emmanuel Fabela
†Designer is represented by United Scenic Artists Local USA-829 of the IATSE. The scenic design is by Frederica Nascimento†; costume design by Jenny Foldenauer; lighting design by Ken Booth; sound design by Jeff Gardner†; wig/make-up design by Klint Flowers; props master is Sydney Russell; projection designer is Kristin Campbell; costume assistant is Kaja Sondergaard; additional casting is Nicole Arbusto.
About Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Living in London in 1963, Stoppard saw an uncut production of Hamlet at The Old Vic theatre in London directed by Laurence Olivier and starring Peter O’Toole. His agent, Kenneth Ewing, mentioned that it would be interesting to explore what happens to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern when they travel to England in a play.
In 1964, Stoppard wrote a one-act play called Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Meet King Lear for a writers’ conference in Berlin. Stoppard eventually developed the one-act into the full-length script, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which premiered in performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. There, it received great critical acclaim. Upon hearing about the production, Kenneth Tynan, the literary manager at London’s National Theatre, requested the script. In 1967, The National Theatre produced Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at The Old Vic Theatre, and Stoppard became the youngest playwright to have a play performed there.
2018-2019 Season – Let Me In
“All of our 2018-19 offerings feature characters who are outliers – people who have blazed their own trail but nevertheless struggle for acknowledgement and acceptance,” says Geoff Elliott. “Let Me In isn’t about a physical space, it’s about the deeply human passion to be understood for who we are.”
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is performing in repertory with A Picture of Dorian Gray, based on the novella by Oscar Wilde and adapted and directed by Michael Michetti (September 23 to November 16).
These plays are followed by the holiday season with ANW’s annual A Christmas Carol (December 1-23, 2018). In the spring, Shakespeare’s intimate tragedy Othello (February 10 – April 28, 2019) plays in rotating repertory with Tennessee Williams’ haunting memory play The Glass Menagerie (February 24 – April 26, 2019) and Mary Zimmerman’s retelling of the classic Greek myth of The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts in Argonautika (March 20 – May 5, 2019). Following the spring repertory season, the popular and acclaimed ANW production of Noises Off (May 21 – June 9, 2019) returns. KCET is a media sponsor for A Noise Within’s 2018-19 Season. A Noise Within’s repertory theatre season is presented by the S. Mark Taper Foundation.
Julia Rodriguez-Elliott says, “Whether they’re in self-exile (The Glass Menagerie), or shunned (Othello), or led astray by hedonistic desires (A Picture of Dorian Gray), or thrust there by the fickle cruelty of fate (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead) or the gods (Argonautika), all of these characters on the margins of society are fascinating and deeply resonant with anyone who has ever felt left out.”
About A Noise Within
A Noise Within, which celebrated its 25th Anniversary in the 2016-17 Season, was called “an oasis for those who love classic stories” by The Los Angeles Times, and is a leading regional producer based in Pasadena, CA. ANW’s award-winning resident company practices a rotating repertory model at their state-of-the-art, 283-seat performing space. This venue, established in 2011, has allowed ANW to expand its audience, surpassing its previous box office, subscription, and attendance records each year.
In addition to producing world-class performances of classical theatre, the organization runs robust education programs committed to inspiring diverse audiences of all ages. Helmed by Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who hold MFAs from San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, A Noise Within truly delivers Classic Theatre, Modern Magic. http://www.anoisewithin.org