Play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead” by Tom Stoppard is a turned inside-out “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare. The play features paradigmatic plot presented through the eyes of two different people - Hamlet’s university peers: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. They were invited so that they could, in a friendly way, find out the real reason behind Hamlet’s weird behaviour. In the Shakespeare's text Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are betrayers. In our play they are also miserable people unable to resist the fate, and who cannot understand how they have gotten into hot water. They are two regular, even ordinary people, but only they remain normal people, when all other characters of the Shakespeare’s tragedy seem to be obsessed lunatics.The play was written in 1966 and was translated into Russian by Joseph Brodsky himself.
Relevance of the piece “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead” lies not only in the brilliant humor of the author and great translation by J.Brodsky, but in discussion of philosophical issues. Director Oleg Rybkin have changed the original text quite significantly, shifting semantic emphasises, and masterly shortened Stoppard’s play, which made it accessible to everyone. ln so doing, the play still remained deep and multi-layered, exciting even for connoisseurs. It is a shakespearean play “from behind the scenes”, from a drastically different viewpoint, through the eyes of Hamlet’s friends, whose main aim was to find the reason of his weird behavior and send him off to England by sea. Rybkin’s play is pure dynamic, fast changing scenes, characters that speak for themselves, masterful scenography, amazing lighting, unexpected music choices. When spectators look at silhouettes of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern wearing grey, modest clothes, they are prompted to think about how all of us are just small pieces of a big mechanism called “Life”. Royal family members look totally different: their appearance and manners show how orgiastic and vicious they are. A gathering of freaks, who revel in power and permissiveness. Hamlet also does not seem to belong to that world - a next-door-guy, who carries around Yorik in a handbag everywhere he goes. Nevertheless, this guy is insane… Premiere of the play took place in December 2017, at the “Theater spring 2018” festival the play won several awards: “Best premier of the season in a drama theater”, director — Oleg Rybkin; “Best actor in a leading role in drama theater” — Ivan Krivushin for the role of Rosencrantz and Nikita Kosachev for the role of Guildenstern; “Best actor in a supporting role in drama theater” - Alexander Istratkov for the role of the First Actor.
“The director resorted to deliberate theatricality by designing very intricate make-up for the actor troupe, king, Hamlet’s mother, and for the prince himself. Apparently, in order to remind the audience one more time that everything that is happening is fiction. Acting of a new actor of the Pushkin Theater Georgy Dmitriev, who played the king, deserves special attention. His giant silhouette, ringing voice that can turn into falsetto in one second — all of that was creating more frightening rather than comical feeling. The only normal guys here are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Oh, almost forgot, and the audience. Here they play their role, as they end up on the stage twice during the play and only once in the auditorium.
— Territory Culture