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Existential Crisis Fuel, Anyone?

posted Apr 17, 2017, 8:01 AM by Kerrianna Wallace
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead presents a collection of existential crises for the average college student to enjoy and then promptly be consumed by. In the past I have read the play and seen the film adaptation, both of which had this effect, but a production at The Old Vic in London, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Rosencrantz and Joshua McGuire as Guildenstern, did a particularly excellent job of sending me away questioning my own existence and future, which is certainly always a good time. 

Those familiar with the work will understand the thoughts of these characters, but for those who haven't, imagine two characters, previously only featured in the background of Shakespeare's Hamlet, questioning their existence and purpose, constantly forgetting what they're doing and where they're going and who they are. That may be painfully familiar for anyone, but as a college student it becomes especially understandable. Our identities are strongly linked with the fact that we are college students and all that comes with that. Sometimes it may feel as if that's all we have. And just as the stage of the Old Vic stretches narrowly to the back, walled in by a vast sky-looking backdrop of clouds, we imagine our futures. Where are we going? How do we get there? What's the meaning of all this? As Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are on the boat that will take them to their destiny, so are we, except there was quite obviously no boarding of a literal boat or sailing over literal seas to get to literal England (well, in my case it did involve a short stop there, but luckily I had a different ending than these two characters). 

Of all the various casts who've taken on these roles, this collection seemed best suited for these characters. Of course, it takes some time to stop seeing Harry Potter on stage continuously flipping coins and to stop wondering when he's going to change out of the Shakespearean garb and cast a spell. The play itself is always a favorite of mine. As you attempt to follow every word that the pair are saying, you begin to feel as lost as them. You can hardly remember who's who as you check your program a third time to remind yourself. So read this play or watch the film or try to find a production somewhere, but be warned, you will likely walk away in the throes of an existential crisis.


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