What happens to two minor players in “Hamlet,” when they are off stage? The Community College of Rhode Island Players will present Tom Stoppard’s answer to that question when they stage “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” next week at the Liston Campus in Providence.
Stoppard gives Rosencrantz and Guildenstern a place at center stage while Hamlet, Ophelia, Claudius and Gertrude are “just passing through.” Stoppard said his main interest in creating the play was “to exploit a situation which seemed to me to have enormous dramatic and comic potential – of these two guys who in Shakespeare’s context don’t really know what they’re doing. The little they are told is mainly lies, and there’s no reason to suppose that they ever find out why they are killed. And, probably more in the early 1960s than at any other time, that would strike a young playwright as being a pretty good thing to explore.”
While “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” remains Stoppard’s most famous play, his other work has garnered critical acclaim and won several awards. In all, he has written more than 20 plays, and his screenplay for “Shakespeare in Love” (1998) earned him and co-writer Marc Norman an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay.
Performances will be presented in the Liston Campus auditorium, 1 Hilton St., Providence, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7, 8 and 9, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9 and 10.
The CCRI Players’ production of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” is directed by Associate Professor Theodore R. Clement. Set design is by Associate Professor Luke J. Sutherland, with lighting design by Steve Williams, costume design by Professor Marilyn Salvatore and sound design by Erin Archer. The stage manager is Shoshana Adler of Cranston, assisted by Kyle Renee Newport Russell of Riverside. The assistant director is Victoria Ezikovich of Providence. Trey Hendley of Providence is dramaturg and assistant costume designer, and Joana Carvalho of Cumberland is properties master. Justin Carroll is the technical director.
Francis Gilleese of Voluntown, Connecticut, plays Rosencrantz opposite Katie Russell of Newport as Guildenstern. The student cast also includes Charee Baez, Alondra Cruz, Julia Egan and Leah Vachon of Cranston; Courtney Cassidy of Tiverton; Clark J. D’Agostino of Scituate; Victoria Ezikovich, Trey Hendley and Jon Sproule of Providence; Isaac Larosee of Warwick; Ian Lesniak of Coventry; Tonie Lopez of Richmond; Maddie Murray of Lincoln; and BriAnna Rogue of North Providence.
Tickets cost $12 general and $10 for students, senior citizens, and CCRI faculty and staff. For reservations, call 401-825-2219.