Hamlet: Long Story Short
Nashville Repertory Theatre is proud to present Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead on our main stage. For those of you about to attend the play we put together a little refresher course on Hamlet to help prepare you.
Hamlet thinks that his uncle Claudius has killed his father, the King.
In order to prove his uncle’s guilt, Hamlet hires a group of Tragedians to enact a scene that shows a King being killed by his own brother who then takes the King’s crown and his wife.
Claudius watches the Tragedians perform this scene and his reaction is guilt-stricken. This visible admission of guilt seals Claudius’s fate, and Hamlet resolves to kill his Uncle for murdering his father.
As he plots, Hamlet seems to be going mad. He verbally abuses Ophelia, the woman he claims to love, he stabs her father Polonius to death and he generally speaks nonsense.
Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, summons Hamlet’s old school chums Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to figure out why Hamlet is acting so strange, as she doesn’t know Claudius is the one who killed her husband, the King.
Claudius finds out Hamlet has killed Polonius and exiles Hamlet to England. Claudius tells Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to deliver Hamlet to the English King for execution, allowing Claudius to get off scot-free.
Hamlet discovers he is meant to be executed, not just exiled, and uses his cunning to arrange the hanging of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern instead.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern really have no idea what they’re doing or how they became involved in this mess of a family soap opera. And, it’s a tragedy, so pretty much everyone dies in the end.
Nashville Repertory Theatre's production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. Live onstage at Tennessee Performing Arts Center's (TPAC) Johnson Theater, October 10–31, 2015 with previews October 8–9. Learn more here.