William Shakespeare is among the most notable playwrights of all time. Some of his works have been so popular that they have been turned into modern movies, aimed at attracting a new generation to this author's works. While Shakespeare has been able to provide audiences with theatrical entertainment for several centuries now, it has only been in the twentieth century that author authors and playwrights have been able to capitalize on the popularity of Shakespeare's works. Specifically, Tom Stoppard in his play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead utilizes two of Hamlet's minor characters—Rosencrantz and Guildenstern—to bring to life a comedic reenactment of Hamlet as told through the eyes of these characters.
Clearly, the idea to use the characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to create a farce out of a notably serious work is quite significant. Stoppard took a notable risk that, upon reflection, appears to have been one that was quite positive for the playwright overall. Stoppard's play opened to rave reviews in 1966 and became a worldwide hit that is still performed in theaters across the globe. In 1990, the play was turned into a move staring, among others, veteran actor Richard Dreyfuss. Although there are those who continue to offer criticism of the work, a precursory overview of what has been written about the work and its performance history seems to suggest that Stoppard has created a memorable play that is destined to become a classic in the world of theater.
[...] Despite Stoppard's high hopes, both the RSC and the Royal Court decided to pass on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (29). To Stoppard's dismay, the RSC chose to hand the play down to undergraduates at the Oxford Playhouse looking for something to perform at the Endiburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland (30). When the production took place in Scotland in 1967, it opened on a stage, size of a ping pong table” (30). Despite this however, critics viewing the play were quite pleased with the work overall. [...]
[...] Conclusion When the history of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is examined in total, it is evident that this play was, and continues to be, a favorite of both audiences and performers. A quick search of the Internet shows that the play has been, and is still being, produced in many major US and European cities. Each year, numerous local and high school theater production companies choose to perform this classic. Thus, the stage version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern has become a well established favorite in the theatrical community. [...]
[...] Despite the failure of the movie, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead as a play and literary work are quite notable overall. Through Stoppard's work, millions of patrons of the arts have been able to enjoy an entertaining evening of existential absurdist rhetoric. While it is evident that Stoppard will not be remembered for his efforts to adapt the play to film, given the popularity of the play, it seems reasonable to argue that audiences across the world will be entertained by this work for decades to come. [...]
[...] As such, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern was performed by the National Theater in London's Old Vic in April of 1967. Later that year, the play opened in New York (30). Stoppard's play was such a success that it garnered the playwright a number of notable honors within the first few years of its release. In 1967, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern won the Plays and Players Award for Best New Play. In 1968, the play won a host of awards including: the Antoinette Perry Award for Best Play, the New York Critics Best Play of the Year Award and the Tony Award for Best Play (USA) Stoppard”). [...]
[...] This critic goes on to argue that these notable differences are what made Stoppard's work stand out at a time when numerous other authors were working on similar works following the same basic foundation. Despite the fact that so many critics have offered clear support for Stoppard and his work, it is evident that not everyone reviewing the play has had a positive opinion. Researchers examining what critics have noted about the work contend that the decision to use two of Shakespeare's minor characters as central characters in the work is a reflection of poor imagination on the part of the author (Murphy, 10). [...]
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