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” this 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.