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PAUL closes in Western Market
By Ella Mitchell, Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

Acting out the absurd in new Generic Theatre production

generic theatre company, rosencrantz and guilderstern are dead, stephen brady, casey davignon
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, played by senior Stephen Brady and freshman Casey Davignon, flip coins during a scene from Tuesday's rehearsal of "Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead" put on by the Generic Theatre Company. Shannon Brown | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Amulya Shankar. 

Absurdity and philosophy abound in Generic Theatre Company’s production of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”

The 1966 play written by Thomas Stoppard is a tragicomedy that explores the events of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” from the perspective of two peripheral characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and the absurd chain of events leading up to their death.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two courtiers, childhood friends of Hamlet, whose trials and tribulations play out as they set up a world that is constantly beyond their understanding and control. Due to a near constant state of confusion and a series of nonsensical ramblings, the story that unfolds is both absurd and comical.

“I keep trying to apply logic to every situation, and it always fails,” freshman Casey Davignon, who plays Guildenstern, said.

First time director sophomore David Neiman says he had a strong reaction to the play, calling it both “very clever” and “very disturbing.”

“I think the play is about life and living. The main point is that the meaning behind life is not necessarily as important as the life itself,” Neiman said.

While the cast and crew see the subject matter as heavy, the battle to conquer their lines was also a weighty struggle.

“Lines, lines, lines!” Davignon said. “We have so many lines, and we talk in circles a lot of the time, so it gets confusing.”

Although themes like existentialism, reality and destiny versus freedom seem like hefty ideas to grapple with, Neiman says he is confident they will still resonate with the audience.

“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” will be playing March 29 at 8 p.m. and on March 30 and 31 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Lisner Downstage. Tickets are $5.

This article was updated March 29, 2012 to reflect the following changes: An unedited version of this blog was published due to a technical error. In that draft, The Hatchet incorrectly spelled Casey Davignon’s name.

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