During the month of August, the College of Charleston’s Department of Theatre and Dance will be putting on a modified version of the Shakespearean tale “Hamlet,” along with a story inspired by some of the characters in “Hamlet” called “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”
Nandini McCauley, media resources coordinator for C of C’s School of the Arts, describes the intertwining story lines.
“Most people are already familiar with The Bard’s tale in which young Hamlet reconsiders many things about a world he only thought he understood in ways that are often ironic and always desperate.
“Fans know that there is a pair of characters in the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who seem relatively ignorant about what might be ‘rotten in the state of Denmark.’ It is these two characters around whom playwright Tom Stoppard built a wildly imaginative play that the college will present alongside ‘Hamlet’ titled ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.’ In this play, the audience sees the story of ‘Hamlet’ from a very different point of view.”
Throughout the month, the college will alternate with one week of “Hamlet” and one week of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”
“The pairing of ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead’ is natural and clearly not a new idea,” explains McCauley.
“Most recently, The Acting Company has taken productions of both on a national tour. ‘Hamlet’ is arguably the greatest tragedy ever written and explores many universal themes; ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead’ explores many of those same themes with a comic tone and by turning ‘Hamlet’ inside out. The opportunity to see both of them together only magnifies their themes.”
The set for “Hamlet” has been designed as an old single house in Charleston in the early 1900s, giving it a very local flavor.
Director Adam Knight says, “I love working in Charleston. I find it so inspiring. And what better place to tell a ghost story than a town as haunted as this one.”
“Hamlet” will be performed Thursday-Sunday with a second run Aug. 22-27.
“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” will be shown Aug. 15-18 with a second run Aug. 29-Sept. 3.
All show times are at 7:30 p.m. with the exception of the Sunday shows, which are at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15, or $10 for seniors and C of C students, faculty and staff.
Both productions will be at the Chapel Theatre, 172 Calhoun St.
For more information, call 953-6306.