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COS Theatre Goes Absurd With Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Joel Barba

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An absurdist comedy that takes the two smallest characters from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and puts them center stage; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead will be playing at the COS theater from April 28 to May 6.

What makes this particular play unique from previous shows COS has done, is that the audience will be seated onstage with the actors during the performance.

“We’ve built the stage and audience seating on our stage so that we always keep present the ‘absurdist’ contrast,” said James Mcdonnell, who is directing the play.

Like the title of the play, and the original fate of these two characters from Hamlet, these characters will inevitably die; thus, the play takes place during the events of Hamlet.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are informed by Hamlet characters Claudius and Gertrude that because they are Hamlet’s oldest and dearest friends that they are in the perfect position to remind him of happier times and find out why he is so upset.

Mcdonnell had many things to say about this play of which he expressed his admiration for.

“The complicated world is the world today. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are trying to make their way through their world and figure stuff out all the while ridiculous things happen that seem like the universe is conspiring against them,” Mcdonnell said. “We’re fascinated by it because it’s a play of profound psychology in the end of 16th century… it was a modern play 400 plus years before the modern period.

“Everyone’s gonna get something from this play, because the play discusses things from a lot of philosophical and ideological points of view, because there’s no one way to live life. But the bigger lesson from the play… is rather than running from the inevitability; we’re all born, we’re all going to die. We can either spend that time between birth and death trying really hard to circumvent the inevitable (which no one has achieved yet) or use that time meaningfully.”

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COS Theatre Goes Absurd With Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead