The Acting Company Visits SUNY Oswego
For the first time in 40 years, The Acting Company performs the classic Shakespeare play, “Hamlet” on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Waterman Theater of Tyler Hall. The following night at 7:30 p.m. on the same stage with same actors, The Acting Company presents a different perspective of Hamlet” with “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”, a production with characters from “Hamlet” but with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as main characters, rather than side roles. We see Hamlet’s story through these character’s perspective lens.
The novel part of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” by Sir Tom Stoppard, a British playwright and screenwriter, is that while the characters are merely minor roles and assistants to Hamlet in Shakespeare’s production, audiences are able to gain knowledge of what these characters are are really thinking and even conspiring from their viewpoint in Stoppard’s production.
Hamlet is sent off to England with his “friends/courtiers,” Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who are carrying a letter with instructions to execute Hamlet. “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern” are written in the absurdist period, making the production different from a standard Shakespearean play, revamping the classic story.
The staging of both plays with the same set, same actors, but a different story is what John Shaffer, Director of the Artswego performing arts series says is the best part about The Acting Company’s production at SUNY Oswego. It is a rare opportunity to experience both plays in two nights . The significance of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” will be much greater if watched the consecutive night after “Hamlet”. While classic Hamlet is a tragedy, Thursday nights’ performance will be a humorous tragicomedy. Additionally, the element of change between the time periods will be a positive touch adding to the outcome of the conjoining shows.
“Every exit is an entrance somewhere else in the other show. There are ideas, or lines that both shows share,” said Shaffer. “The consecutive staging is the selling point. It’s the same characters, just a different view. So the audience will recognize things that are overlapping. The art lies in looking at the same story from totally different viewpoints.”
The Acting Company is very well-known and respected and travels throughout the United States. The Acting Company has performed at the Gallo Center for the Arts-Foster Family Theater in Modesto California, The Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in Tacoma, Washington, The CSI Fine Arts Auditorium in Twin Falls Idaho, The Ellen Theater in Bozeman, Montana and The Pearl Theater in New York City.
The actors are so dedicated that they live on a bus-- sleeping and eating with their fellow thespians, 24-hours a day. Many talented actors have come through The Acting Company and have moved onto successful careers on stage, television and film. Some past company actors include Rainn Wilson, “The Office”, Kevin Kline “The Pirates of Penzance” and Patti Lupone, “Evita.” Following his mother’s footsteps, Lupone’s son, Joshua Johnston, now part of The Acting Company will be performing in the shows at SUNY Oswego. Directing the show will be John Rando, a Tony-award winning director, who is also credited for shows such as “The Wedding Singer,” and “A Christmas Story the Musical.” The Acting Company continue their tour at other colleges like Purdue University, Michigan State University and Virginia Tech.
Both performances are staged in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. Tickets are $18 each, or $25 for both performances. Tickets for students are $5 per performance.
For more information, gotocnyarts.org.