This month’s offering from the National Theatre UK Live is the critically acclaimed comedy from Tom Stoppard, ‘Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead.’ For one night only – May 20 – theater fans can head to the Regal Camana Bay to watch the live recording of the new production.
Daniel Radcliffe (“Harry Potter,” “The Woman in Black”), Joshua McGuire (“The Hour”) and David Haig (“Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “The Witness for the Prosecution”) star in Tom Stoppard’s brilliantly funny situation comedy, broadcast live from The Old Vic theatre in London.
David Leveaux’s new production marks the 50th anniversary of the play that made a young Stoppard’s name overnight.
The play cleverly re-interprets Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” from the point of view of two minor characters: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The Laurel-and-Hardy-like pair are totally incidental to the action of “Hamlet,” subject to the whims of the King Claudius – who gets them to betray Hamlet – and then tricked by Hamlet into delivering a letter that condemns them to death. Stoppard’s play turns “Hamlet” on its head by giving these two the main roles and reducing all of Shakespeare’s major characters (including Hamlet) to minor roles. Written around and in-between the lines of Shakespeare’s play, Stoppard brilliantly takes the main concerns of contemporary theater – absurdism, the inevitability of death, breakdown in communication and feeling – and inserts them into the text of a much earlier play.
Sir Tom Stoppard is a Czech-born playwright. He began his career in England in 1954 as a journalist, soon moving to London in 1960 to start work as a playwright. His first play, “A Walk on the Water” (1960), which was televised in 1963, reached London with a stage version titled “Enter a Free Man” (1968). His next work, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” (1964-65), showed at the 1966 Edinburgh Festival to rave reviews. It became internationally known in 1967 after it was entered into Britain’s National Theatre.
Additional work includes stage plays “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” (1978), “The Real Thing” (1982) and “Rock ‘n’ Roll” (2006). Over the course of his career he has written for radio, television, film and stage. In 1998 he co-wrote the Academy Award winning screenplay for the film “Shakespeare in Love.”