Gracie, January 21, 2011 (view all comments by Gracie)
I heard about this play years ago but was always reluctant to read it. Hamlet is my favorite play by Shakespeare, and I didn't want to see it mistreated in a derivative work. I needn't have worried. Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a brilliant play that in no way diminishes the play that inspired it. In fact, it's a complementary work.
Funny and snarky, with great insight and remarkable finesse, Stoppard really does have a masterpiece on his hands. I found myself snorting with laughter on the subway when reading Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's polemical games. They are both witty and obtuse, and the interchangeable gentlemen provide the reader with a refreshing new perspective on the Danish tragedy all the way up until their inevitable deaths. So much fun! I only wish that I'd read it sooner.
uncle_loki, November 25, 2007 (view all comments by uncle_loki)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is absurdism at its best. It is much more witty and intelligent than something like Ubu Roi or Waiting For Godot. I know. I know. Waiting for Godot is the poster child for absurdist theater, but Stoppard is a master of words. His dialogue is acrobatic, full of puns and word plays and nonsensical banter that is, ironically, saturated with meaning. I recomend this very highly to anyone who enjoys plays and especially to those who enjoy absurdism.
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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Used Trade Paper
0 stars -
Grove Press -
by New York Times Book Review,
"This is a most remarkable play. Very funny. Very brilliant. Very chilling."
Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worms-eve view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeares play. In Tom Stoppards best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.
Tom Stoppard was catapulted into the front ranks of modem playwrights overnight when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead opened in London in 1967. Its subsequent run in New York brought it the same enthusiastic acclaim, and the play has since been performed numerous times in the major theatrical centers of the world. It has won top honors for play and playwright in a poll of London Theater critics, and in its printed form it was chosen one of the Notable Books of 1967” by the American Library Association.
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