Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review of Promethean Theatre Ensemble's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. It was by Tom Stoppard and it was directed by Beth Wolf. It was about Rosencrantz (Nick Lake) and Guildenstern (Tom McGrath), what is happening before you meet them in Hamlet and their perspective on the story of Hamlet. It is about accepting death, friendship, and acting. I loved this play; it was awesome. I saw Arcadia by the same author, and it was amazing. I like this author's plays because they are funny as well as touching, and they talk about real problems in life.

This play is also very much about heads because many many many lines are just this: "Heads." I loved how whenever they flipped a coin it would always come out to be heads. The joke of this was that their heads are going to be chopped off, so it keeps coming up heads. The coin is kind of like a symbolization of death and how by the flip of a coin something good could happen or something bad could happen. Or by just a simple game your friend could be trying to be nice to you but it doesn't work out so well. It was funny but it also symbolized death so it was sad a little bit. I thought it was very clever.

I loved all the tragedians (Ashlee Edgemon, Jared Dennis, Gary F. Barth, Melissa Reeves, David Cady, Jr., Elizabeth Rentfro, Cami Rene Philgreen). I thought they did a great job pretending not to be very good actors. They did other acting, like Cady played Polonious, and he was good at that. But as tragedians they showed you they were pretending not to be the best actors because they actually didn't do very realistic deaths. I thought that the lead Player (Cameron Feagin) was amazing. She made me laugh but at the beginning she seemed mean and weird but then you grew to like her even more along the play. I thought that she had that kind of tomboy essence and she seemed kind of bossy like a kind of like a mean director. I liked how when Guildenstern (or was it Rosencrantz?) started crying on her and she was like "There, there" with a kind of confused look on her face. She says that everyone is always on stage and everyone is always performing. I think that is true, because all the time you are performing yourself.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's friendship is one of the most important things in this play. They have known each other so long and they just lost part of their group when Hamlet (Brendan Hutt) went insane. At first it seems like they don't know who Hamelt is, but once they see what they are supposed to do, then they remember. And then once that thing leaves or they leave, they forget it. North, South, East and West change for them, but they are never like, "I'm not friends with you anymore!" Guildenstern is really smart, but sometimes he can get really sad. And Rosencrantz is not the most smart person but is very funny and very sweet. His problem is that he wants to be like Guildenstern. He is kind of trying to be like him too much. They know they have known each other for a long time, but they don't remember how they have known each other for a long time. The beginning of their lives was they were sent for and somebody was knocking on their door. They don't remember because they have just been created as characters! My mind was blown when I figured this out. It is kind of like being sucked into a fairy tale book.

In this play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are taught to accept death because no one lives forever, unless you turn into a ghost, like Hamlet's father. They are kind of taught that because of two things: The Player and themselves. They taught themselves by accepting many things that were not exactly to their taste exactly. They had to accept that Hamlet was not their friend anymore. They had to accept that they couldn't go home. They had to accept that they had to go back to see who Hamlet was with on the stairs. They had to accept that it was always heads. Then basically the characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were developed enough to learn to accept death. The player teaches them to accept death by basically just telling them: accept death. But she also helps them by putting on a show of all of Hamlet's, the play's, deaths. They also realize that death is not just a play, it is an actual thing, and they learn to accept that by seeing the play and seeing their own deaths.

People who would like this show are people who like philosophical discoveries, best friends, and laughing your face and your butt off. People should definitely go and see this show. I had a awesome time even though I was feeling a little sick. This is an amazing show, and it is funny, and I actually learned a lot during this show. And I learned a lot writing this review! And I hope you learned a lot reading this!

Photos: Johnny Knight

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