The latter is a work of absurd existentialist comedy that is more linear than Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot and less abstract and bizarre than, say, Christopher Durang’s The Marriage of Bette and Boo. Driven mostly by dialogue, the plot addresses the topics of identity, fate, existence and reality while poking fun at theatrical concepts and its source material (for example there are frequent references to Hamlet walking around and talking to himself).
While the play is a nice introduction to absurdist theater and has a plot that’s generally easy to follow ( there’s also quite a bit of slapstick comedy to break up the heavy dialogue) it isn’t an easy play to pull off. The actors of the American Coast Theater Company step up to the challenge quite well. As Guildenstern, actor Aaron McGee comes across as a man who wants to think of himself as intelligent but struggles to understand the world around him. Katie Canavan captures Rosencrantz’s charming innocence and naïveté. The pair have wonderful chemistry on stage together, and it is easy to believe they are best chums. As a counter to their confusion, Brock Joseph’s version of The Player displays a confident and nonchalant attitude while delivering key moments of true emotion when appropriate. The band of Hamlet characters add humor to the plot, especially Susan K. Berkompas’ increasingly drunk Gertrude and James McHale’s Hamlet, who borders on cartoonish. The actors all repeat their roles on the nights the company performs Hamlet, so it would be interesting to see these actors crossover to the more dramatic story.
June 11th – July 2nd
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