Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-01-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
by Jonathan Abarbanel
2009-10-14

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Tom Stoppard. At: Writers' Theatre, 325 Tudor, Glencoe. Tickets: 847-242-6000; writerstheatre.org; $40-$65. Runs through: Dec. 6

I was 20 and this play was new when I saw the original London production and was astonished by its audacious comedy, intelligence and literary parody, turning minor characters from Hamlet—the Player King and the title pair—into the starring roles. In his first great success, author Tom Stoppard was brazen enough to tell you precisely what he was about: "We do onstage what others do off," the Player King explained, "which is a kind of integrity if you consider that every exit is an entrance somewhere else."

That was four decades ago, and the wit and luster of R&G Are Dead hasn't diminished one iota, nor has the passionate intelligence—political, scientific, cultural and metaphysical—of its author, now Sir Tom Stoppard. Seeing this play after many years is like returning to an old friend, and Writers' Theatre makes the reunion absolutely worthwhile.

But 40 years on, it's not the intelligence and literary parody that impress me; it's Stoppard's debt to Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde that seems so clear. The play is an absurdist work written at the height of European absurdism with Beckett, Pinter, Ionesco, Havel and others at the height of their writing powers. Like Beckett's tramps in Waiting for Godot or Pinter's killers in The Dumb Waiter, Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern find themselves in a random and often cruel universe controlled by forces beyond their understanding, which renders their lives meaningless. Guildenstern continually tries to make scientific sense of it all while the dimmer Rosencrantz drifts with the current. Meantime the literary wit, elegant phrases and comedy of manners are descendents of Oscar Wilde. "We're tied to a language that makes up in obscurity what it lacks in style," Guildenstern observes in a pure-Wilde moment.

As handsomely staged by Michael Halberstam, a veteran cast of oft-proven mettle sails through Stoppard's and Shakespeare's dense text providing entertainment, intellectual stimulation and colorful tableaux. "The best actors in the world" ( as Polonius says ) are lead by Sean Fortunato as Rosencrantz channeling Stan Laurel, Timothy Edward Kane as the hyper-rational Guildenstern and sonorous-voiced Allen Gilmore as the Player King, an archetypal survivor ( as R&G themselves are not ) . They are on the dry side—more intellectually amusing than charming—but nonetheless appealing. The larger passions are left to momentary flashes from the secondary characters.

The principals and supporting players are dressed in Rachel Anne Healy's rich and wittily eccentric costumes, paraded across Collette Pollard's theater-within-a-theater scenic design. Indeed, Halberstam's grandest conceit is establishing R&G Are Dead as a play-within-a-play, obvious to all except R&G themselves who remain befuddled even at the curtain call. If we are intrigued without ever quite being enlightened about life, well, that's the touch of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in each of us.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

All-woman cast plays the men in City Lit's 'Thirteen Days' 2020-01-24
Chicago Musical Theatre Festival Feb. 3-20 2020-01-23
Theater Spotlight on The Merry Widow 2020-01-22
Show examines life of Barbara Jordan 2020-01-22
Nancy Pelosi play debuting Jan. 26 2020-01-22
'Freedom Ride' talk, performance Jan. 29 2020-01-21
Patin at Hyde Park through Feb. 28 2020-01-21
Young Playwrights Festival running through Jan. 25 2020-01-21
Sean Hayes at Feb. 5 Goodman event 2020-01-21
THEATER REVIEW The Gulf 2020-01-21
THEATER REVIEW Whisper House 2020-01-21
THEATER REVIEW Stop Kiss 2020-01-21
COMEDY 'The Haggard Unicorn:' Queer trans comic talks representation, hurdles 2020-01-14
LGBTQ+ nonfiction writing class starts Feb. 23 2020-01-13
Young Playwrights Festival running through Jan. 25 2020-01-12
Joffrey Presents 'The Times Are Racing,' A Mixed Rep Program 2020-01-09
WINTER THEATER PREVIEW Classics and revivals abound this season 2020-01-07
theWit celebrating Warhol with package 2020-01-07
NUNN ON ONE THEATER Eric Huffman goes from 'Mormon' to 'Mean Girls' 2020-01-07
Funny Feminism: Podcast "The Guilty Feminist" comes to Chicago 2020-01-03
'Constitution" tickets on sale Jan. 3 2019-12-30
SHOWBIZ Judi Dench, HIV+ musical comedy, Black LGBTQ musicians, Ryan Reynolds 2019-12-30
'Christmas Foundling' through Jan. 5 2019-12-27
Critic's Picks 2019-12-24
LETTER Pride Parade's future 2019-12-24
The best and worst of Chicago theater in 2019 2019-12-23
'The Tasters' to run Jan. 10-Feb. 16 2019-12-23
Rhinoceros Festival Jan. 11-Feb. 23 2019-12-22
THEATER REVIEW Dance Nation 2019-12-20
Matt Rodin, Bethany Thomas star in Milwaukee production of Hedwig 2019-12-18
THEATER REVIEW Working 2019-12-18
World Premiere of The Tasters coming to Rivendell Theatre 2019-12-17
Sideshow names new executive director 2019-12-16
'Burning Bluebeard' running through Dec. 27 2019-12-16
THEATER REVIEW The Holiday Radio Show: 1944 2019-12-16
THEATER REVIEW The Light in the Piazza 2019-12-16
Joffrey Presents 'The Times Are Racing,' a mixed rep program 2019-12-13
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater includes Midwest premieres, Ailey classics 2019-12-12
Renee Fleming in rehearsal with Lyric Opera for The Light in the Piazza 2019-12-11
THEATER REVIEW A Xmas Cuento Remix­­ 2019-12-11
 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.