NANAIMO, BC – The search for identity and purpose is the theme of Vancouver Island University Theatre department’s fall production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, running Nov. 1 – 10 in the Malaspina Theatre.
A Tony and New York Drama Critic award-winning play directed by VIU theatre instructor Leon Potter, the story follows the two titular characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, old friends of Hamlet, and focuses on the events taking place in the background of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.
The New York Times called the original run “funny, brilliant, and chilling.” Potter is excited about mounting this particular production, saying the play is a personal favorite.
“Playwright Tom Stoppard did a brilliant job, and I have relished the idea directing this show for many years,” said Potter, who teaches in the VIU theatre department. “Many people find it difficult to relate to Hamlet, but everyone can find something to relate to with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.”
While the play is about the search for identity and purpose, Potter said the challenge “is to make all of the great ideas discussed in the play come to life.”
The production team and designers are hard at work to create a captivating production.
The cast includes 15 student actors, working with students and industry professionals including Mike Taugher as lighting designer, Robin Boxwell as sound designer, Brian Ball designing the set and Michelle Kuzilla-Spoor, as costume designer. Kuzilla-Spoor graduated from VIU’s theatre program.
“The great thing about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is that the play’s themes are universal, and not strictly relegated to any one time period,” Potter said.
“This malleability allows VIU to present the show as something of an absurdist piece, with the production set in contemporary reimagining of 1930’s Paris.”
Ball’s set is influenced heavily by the surreal art of Rene Margritte, which adds to the Parisian and absurdist feel of the production.
Potter is hopeful Nanaimo audiences will support the VIU production “because at the end of the day, it’s a fun night out doing something that you otherwise may not have done before.
“The show will be entertaining, it supports the students and the VIU Theatre program, and it supports the community.”
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead runs Nov. 1 – 10 at the Malaspina Theatre, VIU’s Nanaimo campus, 900 Fifth Street. Evening shows are 8 pm; matinees 4 pm Nov. 6 and noon on Nov. 7 and 8.
Tickets are $12 each; $10 for seniors and students. For reservations, call 250-740-6100.
VIU student actors (left to right) Bobby Katnich, Samantha Pawliuk and Taylor Bates rehearse their lines for VIU’s fall show, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. The show runs from Nov. 1 – 10 in the Malaspina Theatre at VIU’s Nanaimo campus.