Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: A Review


When I first heard that our theater department would be performing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, I was greatly anticipating it. This play is inspired by William Shakespeare’s famous play, Hamlet, and, as this is my favorite of Shakespeare’s works, I was understandably excited. After watching the cast’s last performance, I thought that I’d take a moment to share what I thought and hopefully encourage some of you to take an interest in the arts in the future. 

For those of you that did not attend the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead follows two of Hamlet’s minor characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, in their journey through life and death. The play portrays Rosencrantz’s and Guildenstern’s struggles with spying on their friend, dedicating all of their time to the king’s plots, and unknowingly delivering Hamlet to his apparent demise. In Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were viewed as villains that aided evil King Claudius in betraying Hamlet and attempting to kill him, but Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead portrays them as two friends that helped the king unwillingly and had no knowledge of his evil plots. While Rosencrantz and Guildenstern being killed in Hamlet was means for celebration, this play shows the audience that these two characters may not have done anything wrong to deserve such a heartbreaking fate. 

SMP’s cast of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead were absolutely amazing, making their performance truly memorable. Of the group, 4 cast members stood out to me in particular. The first, Madeleine Sorrell, played one of the two leads: Guildenstern. Madeleine’s performance was incredibly fun to watch because I loved watching her run around frantically, constantly confused, in a dramatic accent. As one of Madeleine’s best friends, it was truly a unique experience seeing her embody a character so completely unlike herself, and she was able to demonstrate her incredible acting ability throughout the show. The second cast member that caught my eye was Chloe Ste. Marie, who played the other lead, Rosencrantz. To repeat what my mom said to me after we saw the show, “Chloe is made for the stage.” Her performance was absolutely amazing, and she effortlessly embodied Rosencrantz so perfectly that, for an hour and a half, I forgot that she wasn’t the character. The third actor that stood out was Ephraim Sorrell. Ephraim was cast as the Player, and he was the perfect comic relief throughout the show. His theatrics were over-the-top, and exactly what the show needed to feel complete. The final student that stuck out to me was Addie Prochaska. Addie played both King Claudius and Queen Gertrude, which was both incredibly comical and a testament to her acting abilities. Not only did she have to perform the parts without laughing at the absurdity of it, but she also had to effortlessly transition from one character to the other in mere seconds. Where the other students I’ve talked about each played a single character, Addie had to play two simultaneously, demonstrating her acting abilities. Overall, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was an amazing show to watch, and I have to offer my highest praise to the director, Mr. McClymont, for making this show the success that it was; the entire cast was perfect, the outdoor stage was beautiful, and watching the play under the stars like Shakespearean times was a truly unique experience.