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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead - Full Length Play, Comedy

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Tom Stoppard

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Full Length Play, Comedy

14m, 2f

ISBN: 9780573614927

Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm's-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare's play

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Downloadable Sound Effects - Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead

Minimum Fee: $100 per performance


Full Length Play



Cutting Approved for Competition, UIL Approved, Competition or audition material


Adult, Senior, Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)


High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


Tony, From Broadway

WINNER! Tony® Award for Best Play
WINNER! NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play

Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm's-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare's play. In Tom Stoppard's best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.

"Very funny, very brilliant, very chilling; it has the dust of thought about it and the particles glitter excitingly in the theatrical air. " - The New York Times

"A stimulating, funny, imaginative comedy." - The New York Daily News

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead was first staged at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on August 24, 1966, by the Oxford Theatre Group. It premiered in London at the Old Vic on April 11, 1967.


14m, 2f


Room for Extras


Plus 12 extras and 6 musicians

ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN - a pair of schoolmates and childhood friends of Hamlet

THE PLAYER - a traveling actor

HAMLET - the Prince of Denmark

TRAGEDIANS - traveling with the Player, including Alfred

KING CLAUDIUS - the King of Denmark, Hamlet's uncle and stepfather

GERTRUDE - the Queen of Denmark, and Hamlet's mother

POLONIUS - Claudius's chief adviser

OPHELIA - Polonius's daughter

HORATIO - a friend and schoolmate of Hamlet

FORTINBRAS - the nephew of the King of Norway


Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard’s most recent play, The Hard Problem, opened at the National Theatre in 2015. He wrote his first play, Enter a Free Man, whilst working as a journalist in Bristol. His plays include Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, The Real Inspector Hound, After Magritte, Jumpers, Travesties, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (a play for actors and orchestra written with André Previn), Night and ... view full profile

Now Playing
Kenneth Laboy Vazquez 12/6/2015 12:47 PM
Although it is a comedy, Tom Stoppard has given us much more than easy laughs in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. He tells the story of two minor players in the tragedy of Hamlet, not by reinventing or reimagining the narrative but by embracing the dramatic beats already given.

As the titular characters walk into the plot of Hamlet they find themselves trapped. Their movements defined by the omniscient acts of characters who barely appear. Their lack of agency slowly shown as the plot progresses and they become aware of it. Most present in the final act where both protagonists deal with the fact that their death has already been written. Finding themselves physically trapped within the limits of a ship.

Stoppard has managed to make the futility of their actions drive the plot. Most of the dialogue has no forward movement, with many repeated lines and questions never answered. Yet the plight of both characters is one both the audience and reader can easily identify with as powerlessness has plagued us all.

Jeremy Simmons 4/23/2013 9:41 PM
Tom Stoppard has crafted a comic salutation worthy of the bard in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.  There is something for everyone; the quick-witted will appreciate the philosphical meanderings of Guildenstern, while the less mentally nimble will still find apt enjoyment in the hearty opportunities for slapstick imbued into the play.

Strong comic timing is a must for the many puns and allusions to make sense, along with flawless elocution.  A virtue of this work is its ability to posit questions and lead the audience to contemplate, without dictating answers or tampering with tragedy via some deus ex machina.

The near-existentialism of the dialogue is balanced out by blunt physical action in all the right places; each philosophical meandering is paired with a brilliant demonstration.  However, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is far from absurdist, though it borrows heavily in tone from the genre.

To sum up: irony, tragedy, and of course...laughs.

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