California Repertory Company presents Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard, directed by guest artist Thomas P. Cooke, April 20-May 12. Following Hamlet’s most overlooked characters as they stumble to their unavoidable end, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead ponders what it means to live and die in an absurd universe.
In our current zeitgeist of senseless wars, endless recession, and the plight of the 99%, director Thomas Cooke points to the ease with which humanity can identify with Stoppard’s hapless heroes. “The play reminds us of how helpless we are to change anything about our lives, and how outside forces move us around without us being in control. This is the situation in which Rosencrantz and Guildenstern find themselves. Throughout the play, they’re trying to find out who they are, where they are, and why they are there. They are on a path toward death, and they are also powerless in the face of all the different manifestations of society they encounter. Their destiny is being controlled.”
This play within a play within a play will also feature a multi-media design and a set inspired by a magic box and movie theatre, resulting in another level of perplexity for the befuddled friends. “We’re going to have that interplay between the screen and the stage, the two media that give life to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and we’re going to have characters come from the screen and into the screen, so they will kind of morph out, back and forth. Having the interaction with film, rather than live theatre, will give us another dimension of this time and space warp in which Rosencrantz and Guildenstern find themselves.”
Cooke was artistic director of the Clarence Brown Theatre Company (LORT) for twelve years and the Nevada Conservatory Theatre for four years. Active in the development of international theatre partnerships, he is a past President of the Worldwide Training Committee of the International Theatre Institute/UNESCO and is a past Vice-President of the International Theatre Institute/USA. He has directed many international productions and produced events in five countries. He received his MFA from Yale University and his Ph.D. from Florida State University.
Cal Rep performances are in the Royal Theater aboard the Queen Mary. The production runs Tuesday through Saturday, April 20-May 12 at 8 pm. There will be a preview performance on April 19 at 8pm. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for students, military, and seniors (55 and older). Parking at the Queen Mary is $8 for patrons of Cal Rep performances, $6 for CSULB students and patrons who have dinner aboard the ship. Long Beach Public Transit also runs directly to the Queen Mary. For tickets and information please call (562) 985-5526 or visit www.calrep.org
ABOUT THE QUEEN MARY- The Queen Mary is home to a 314-room Art Deco Hotel, where guests relive the excitement of cruising in the style of the 1930s without leaving port. She has played many roles during her illustrious career– from an elegant ocean liner to a World War II troopship. Now permanently docked, yet still afloat, her operation and preservation are entrusted to Evolution Hospitality, a leading independent management company. Located at 1126 Queens Highway in beautiful Long Beach, California, The Queen Mary is a must-see attraction. The historic ship offers a variety of historical, paranormal and educational tours, unique shops, meeting & banquet facilities, three award-winning ocean view restaurants and much more. For more information please visit www.queenmary.com or call (800) 437-2934.