Opera House presents Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead

Submitted Photo: Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire star in Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead.

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House will present the National Theatre’s production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, captured live via satellite from the stage of London’s Old Vic Theatre on Sat., May 6, at 1 p.m.

Daniel Radcliffe, Joshua McGuire and David Haig star in Tom Stoppard’s brilliantly funny situation comedy, marking the 50th anniversary of the play that made a young Stoppard’s name overnight.

The play expands upon the exploits of two minor characters from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the courtiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The action of Stoppard’s play takes place mainly “in the wings” of Shakespeare’s, with brief appearances of major characters from Hamlet who enact fragments of the original’s scenes. Between these episodes the two protagonists voice their confusion at the progress of events occurring onstage without them in Hamlet, of which they have no direct knowledge.

The title is taken directly from the final scene of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In earlier scenes, Prince Hamlet, having been exiled to England by the treacherous King of Denmark (his uncle, who murdered Hamlet’s father to obtain the throne) discovered en route a letter from the King carried by his old but now untrusted friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The letter commanded Hamlet’s death upon his arrival in England. Hamlet rewrote the letter to command Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s death and escaped back to Denmark. By the end of Shakespeare’s play, Prince Hamlet, Laertes, Ophelia, Polonius, King Claudius and Gertrude all lie dead. An ambassador from England arrives to bluntly report “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead” and so they join all the stabbed, poisoned, and drowned key characters.

The production runs three hours, 10 minutes with one intermission.

Tickets to Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead are $15 ($10 Students) and may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 716-679-1891, Tuesday through Friday, 1-5 p.m. They also may be purchased online any time at www.fredopera.org. In addition, Live in HD Series Flex Subscription tickets ($116 for eight tickets) can be used at any of the National Theatre Live productions.

The Opera House is equipped with assistive listening headsets for the hearing-impaired. Simply request one from any usher or Opera House staff member. Headset funding provided by Robert & Marilyn Maytum, the Dunkirk-Fredonia Lions Club, and by a grant from Theatre Development Fund’s TAP Plus program in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts.

Support for the program also comes from the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County, the Arts Services Initiative of WNY Inc., and the Give for Greatness program.