The works of William Shakespeare are among literature’s classics, and his play “Hamlet” is included in the curricula of many high school literature classes, including Kennedy’s AP Literature and Composition. But Theatre Cedar Rapids is putting on a production that puts a new twist on this classic story.
The play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” written by Tom Stoppard, focuses on some of the action that takes place during the course of the Hamlet story but that isn’t shown on stage in the original play.
“It’s kind of the behind-the-scenes of Hamlet,” Angelica Fink sr., said. “You’ll see some scenes from Hamlet that are in the show, but it’s mostly just [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern] living their lives and having it influenced by the characters of Hamlet.”
Fink is playing Ophelia in this production, which is her first full-length play at Theatre Cedar Rapids.
“I’ve been auditioning for Theatre Cedar Rapids for about four years,” Fink said. “I’d originally auditioned [for R&G] and didn’t get in, and their original Ophelia dropped out. I was in a show with the director of R&G, and she saw me and…I got cast.”
“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern” is showing simultaneously with “Hamlet,” so “Hamlet” is taking place in the main auditorium of the Theatre Cedar Rapids building while R&G is taking place in the lower level auditorium.
“It’s a smaller space and it’s more interactive with the audience,” Fink said.
Although the original “Hamlet” play takes place in the late middle ages, R&G is set in the 1970s, which allows for a different approach and a different vibe.
“I think it makes it funnier, because the costumes are just so crazy,” Fink said. “I’m wearing neon green and yellow…the fashion is just so fun and I think it brings more comedy to it.”
Although she is excited to be a part of this production, Fink is not a huge fan of the original “Hamlet” play.
“Hamlet is actually my least favorite Shakespeare play,” Fink said. “I think it’s because as I got to know the character of Ophelia, she’s so dependent on her father and she doesn’t really have a voice. She’s not a strong female lead and I think that’s what turned me off from it. But I think [R&G] is better than ‘Hamlet’ because it’s so funny.”
The cast has been working on the play since the beginning of February, and it opens tonight and runs through April 24. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.