One of the most infamous plays in the world is tearing up the stage at the Danny Peterson Theatre in the Morrison Center in a unique way.
The Boise State Theatre Arts Department is staging a little ditty you may have heard of, called Hamlet, and showing it in repertory with the 20th century absurdist tragicomedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, by playwright Tom Stoppard, who co-wrote the screenplays for Brazil and Shakespeare in Love.
Why should you be super-stoked about that, you may ask? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two very minor characters in Shakespeare's "to-be-or-not-to-be" tale, but morph into the big-time eponymous characters in Stoppard's play, providing theatergoers with a neat-o twist on a classic tale.
Theater Arts professor Michael Baltzell directs Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead while his colleague Gordon Reinhart takes on Hamlet. While it's fun to picture a director battle a la Celebrity Death Match, in reality, the two worked together to bring the Treasure Valley this unique theater experience.
"Gordon and I have been talking about this idea for a couple of years" said Baltzell. "He's always been interested in directing Shakespeare and I really like the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern play."
First featured back in 1966, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead adds comedic relief as the characters express their confusion with what's going on in Hamlet.
"It is a contemporary response to Hamlet," explained Baltzell. "In brainstorming, we thought it would be interesting to play the two together so audiences could compare them."
These plays will rotate days, costumes, sets and actors in the first-ever repertory attempt by the Theatre Arts Department.
Audiences have the option to attend one of the plays, but are encouraged to see both. But here is a tip: If you are unfamiliar with the Shakespearean tragedy, or need a refresher course, see Hamlet first so you aren't confused by the references in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
Hamlet will wrap up on Friday, April 13, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead will conclude its run through Sunday, April 15. Visit the department's website for a full schedule.
Tickets are available at the Morrison Center box office, at all Select-a-Seat outlets, at idahotickets.com or by calling 208-426-1110. Boise State faculty, staff and full-time students will receive one free ticket, and part-time students may purchase a discounted $5 ticket at on-campus ticket outlets.