Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Tom Stoppard

More Absurdism. I found this one to be in the middle between Ionesco's loud and over the top comedy and Beckett's dour depressionism.

The first version of this play I was able to get my hands on was through an academic library. Interestingly, while they only had one copy of the book, the version they stored was the screenplay of the movie of the same name. While it didn't matter much, considering both were penned by Stoppard's hand, I found the process of reading the screenplay against the stageplay to be rather enlightening. During my time in undergrad I was instructed to read several books about writing screenplays, which I found filled to the brim with all sorts of double standards. An editorial process rife with many “heads I win, tails you lose” means for sudden dismissals.

Despite that, the interesting point between the two of them can be pointed out in how the screenplay better captures the long passages of time between Shakespeare's multi-act, multi-scene Hamlet in the mise-en-scène of the film, while the highly-compressed three-act stage play promotes the sense that life is speeding past, high over the two titular characters' heads. It leads me to wonder which version of the story is more in line with its absurdist intentions...?

Previous Book
Next Book

Book Metadata

Book Topics

Return to Library Index