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March 16, 2010

School of Theatre and Dance presents ‘Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead’

DeKalb, Ill. — The next Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance live theater production offers one of the more famous “Theatre of the Absurd” perspectives on a Shakespearean classic.

The school will present playwright Tom Stoppard’s darkly comedic “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead” in the Stevens Building Players Theatre on the DeKalb campus from Thursday, March 25, through Sunday, March 28, and from Thursday, April 8, through Sunday, April 11.

The play is a collision of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and Stoppard’s witty perspective on the life of that story’s characters when they’re offstage. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are actually minor characters from the Hamlet play who attempt to navigate a disorientating path through their roles in Hamlet. They have neither the resources to understand what is happening to or asked of them, nor the ability to independently determine the meaning of their own existence.

Completing the absurdity of the situation that they can’t quite explain to themselves, the costumes, set and style all give the impression of a once grand play that has, through repetition, lost its glory.

“The idea is that they’re stuck in a worn out version of Hamlet that just keeps going,” says director Stanton Davis. “It is gallows black comedy humor, but with compassion.”

In addition to the play’s new take on an old text, the cast brings exciting new techniques to the production as many of them have recently returned from a semester abroad with the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia.

“There’s a strong influence of Vaudeville and Commedia del arte movement in the show,” says cast member Ariel Begley. “That style requires a really strong sense of rhythm and crispness, so I have been able to implement the Russian training in that understanding of rhythm.”

Show times are 7:30 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets can be purchased at the Stevens Building box office, located on the DeKalb campus behind the Pizza Hut and McDonald’s restaurants on West Lincoln Highway from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 2 p.m. Friday and one hour before productions.

Tickets also can be ordered by phone at (815) 753-1600 or online at www.niu.edu/theatre. Tickets cost $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $8 for students. More information and ticket reservations are available by contacting the Stevens Building Box Office at (815) 753-1600. Visit the School of Theatre and Dance Web site at http://www.niu.edu/theatre.

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Media Contact: David Booth/Kathryn McCord, NIU School of Theatre and Dance
Phone: (815) 753-1337
Email: dbooth1@niu.edu