The upcoming production of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” offers a unique spin to a classic storyline. The ORU stage will feature this version of a Shakespearean production in November, but with an unusual feature.
The lead roles, instead of two males, are fraternal twin girls. Sarah Gaudet and Sofia Brennecke play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, respectively. “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” incorporates the story of Hamlet in a fresh way.
“Well, this one isn’t a Shakespeare play. It’s written by Tom Stoppard and he basically takes two characters from the Shakespeare play ‘Hamlet’ and writes a play about them. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two of Hamlet’s friends,” said director Courtneay Sanders.
The ORU theatrical department has agreed to do a Shakespeare play every other year. While this year’s production fell on a year when a Shakespearean play would not have been produced, it is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
“We wanted to do something that was commemorative of his death, and so this one felt like a happy medium,” said Sanders. “But it has lots of Shakespeare in it and it’s also a comedy. It kind of fit the bill all around.”
Sanders incorporates Anne Bogart’s Nine Viewpoints within the production, one of which is called topography. Topography, in the sense of theatre, is the way a person moves through space. The idea is there are many ways to move from one point on stage to another point entirely. Gaudet and Brennecke have discovered their personalized way of portraying Rosencrantz and Guildenstern on stage in exercising these techniques.
“We walk around and we explore the nine different viewpoints, so we’ll explore repetition, we’ll just keep stumping in the same spot, or we’ll crawl on the floor in the same spot, or we’ll explore topography and drag our feet,” said Gaudet. “A lot of it just comes from the rehearsal and doing it over and over again, making new decisions, following impulses.”
The show consists of original Hamlet characters who speak in verse while the added characters of Stoppard speak in prose. The play is a mixture of tragedy and comedy. There will also be live music.
“It’s something for all audiences,” said Brennecke.
The play will be during College Weekend, Nov. 3-5 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.