DramaCentre concludes ’14-15 season with tragicomedy “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead”
Centre College’s DramaCentre will bring Tom Stoppard’s tragicomedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead to the Weisiger Theatre stage, April 22-25 at 8 p.m. nightly.
First performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1966, this play follows the misadventures of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The pair appears here when they are off-stage in Shakespeare’s play and travel on a journey by sea to deliver the captured Hamlet to the English king—encountering a few mishaps along the way.
Taking on the iconic play has been a true challenge for some of Centre’s brightest stars. Rachel Bischoff ’18, playing the title character Guildenstern, claimed the production “has been a completely educational experience.” She found the production process to be a challenge, but concedes she “is a better actor for it.”
The challenge lies in the genre of Stoppard’s piece: Theatre of the Absurd. Senior, Heath Haden, who portrays Hamlet, explains that the text is “rich in philosophical introspection and extrospection.” In unpacking the “deeply philosophical text,” fellow Senior, Josh Jerome (The Player) hopes to create a story “accessible and enjoyable for our audience.”
Despite challenges, the actors all voiced their confidence in their ability to aptly tell Stoppard’s story and engage their audience in a meaningful performance. Zach Throne, a junior playing the role of Rosencrantz, believes Professor of Dramatic Arts Patrick Kagan-Moore “directs the students in a way that is engaging but also accomplishes the technicality of acting that is needed for a play like this.”
Kagan-Moore, however, envisions even more for the production; he considers it a “terrific play.”
Under his guidance, the show has taken on a Steampunk theme, which runs throughout all levels of production. This Steampunk vibe, a stylized reimagining of industrial, Victorian Britain, gives the production a unique feel that will captivate audiences and truly sets this production above the rest.
Kagan-Moore’s vision will be brought to life, thanks in part to guest designers Martha Peñaranda and Tony Hardin. With an MFA in Costume and Scene Design from Carnegie Melon University, Peñaranda joins the design team from her post at Kenyon College. Her costumes last graced the Weisiger Theatre during Centre’s production of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard (2012). In addition, Tony Hardin, associate professor of scenic and lighting design at the University of Kentucky, has drawn from a wealth of experience to create a unique lighting design to highlight the on-stage action.
With an all-star cast, world-class designers and a passionate director, there is little doubt that this production will be anything less than a hit. Bischoff is certain that “audiences will be able to find something to appreciate about this production, whether it be in the explicit humor, the absurdity of the situation or the emotional aspects of the work.”
“This cast is talented beyond measure,” adds Jerome, “but don’t take my word for it, come and see for yourselves.”
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead will take place at Centre College’s Weisiger Theatre on Wednesday, April 22 through Saturday, April 25, at 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and are available by calling the box office at 1-877-HIT-SHOW or 859-236-4692.
• Free for Centre students, faculty and staff
• $5 for non-Centre students and senior citizens
• $10 for the general public
by Evan Baylor ’16