What does it all mean? Jobsite Theater audiences may well be pondering this as they watch the current show, Tom Stoppard’s Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
In true “theater of the absurd” fashion, it doesn’t actually mean a whole lot. That doesn’t stop the titular characters – played by Katherine Yacko and Nicole Jeannine Smith, respectively – from debating the meaning of life, and death, and other philosophical matters.
The fact is, they’re not the brightest bulbs in the lamp. They’re Laurel and Hardy in Waiting For Godot.
Therein lies the fun for the Jobsite audience. Stoppard is adamant that he wrote R&G Are Dead as a comedy, and while it’s rich with pseudo-existential conversation, in the end that’s a bunch of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Ah, but there is a point to it all. These are two minor characters from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and as their story unfolds, Hamlet itself breaks through the fourth wall and intrudes on their idiotic reverie. Most of the cast from the company’s Spring 2023 production of Hamlet return for this one, injecting moments of actual Shakespearian dialogue (and trag-uh-dee) into the proceedings.
Still, it’s all about “Rosey” and “Guildy.” In today’s Arts Alive! podcast, Yacko and Smith talk about the process, and the experience, of bringing this beloved bit of classical absurdity to the stage.
Click on the arrow to listen to the interview.