Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at Mad Cow Theatre

Last Wednesday I was invited by a friend to catch a sneak peek of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”, opening at Mad Cow Theatre in downtown Orlando.

Know nothing about this story? Well, neither did I prior to watching it so here’s the set-up:

A modern absurdist masterpiece that takes one of the greatest plays of all time and turns it on its head – a fun-house-mirror version of Hamlet which is both profound and hysterical. Winner of 4 Tony Awards including Best Play.”

This was my first time to Mad Cow, and I was surprised at how intimate the venue is. Of course, photography during the show is not allowed but I managed to sneak a pic during the first intermisson:

Let me first say the cast was really good. The two leads (Tim Williams and Michael Marinaccio) in particular were exceptional, especially given the heavy amount of dialogue they shared. I’d definitely go to another play at Mad Cow just to see either of these actors. I did, however, have some issues with the play itself:

  1. While the content was actually quite funny (I laughed alot, specifically at the young male actor dressed-up as a woman for most of the play – hilarious!), I still have no idea what the heck happened. And this was after two-and-a-half hours! I’m thoroughly confused. In fact, after the second act ended, a handful of audience members left because they thought the play was over; my friend and I were nearly two of those, until we realized many people were staying. (To me, this is a major problem with the content: an audience shouldn’t be scratching their heads, wondering if the story is over or not.)
  2. It’s a really freakin’ long play! I don’t know if programs were available and I just missed picking one up, or if they weren’t available, but there are two intermissions, and like I mentioned above well over two hours. Actually, the entire third act could’ve been eliminated and I would’ve been very happy. I supposed if I’d had a program and was aware there were two intermissions, I would’ve been mentally prepared.

Please understand neither of these points have anything to do with the cast, crew, or show director. I just think these are flaws–at least in my opinion–in the script and material.  Or maybe I just didn’t get it….

If you’re interested in checking-out this play for yourself, it runs through the end of February. Visit Mad Cow’s website for a complete listing of other shows this season. Of course, you can always follow them on Twitter or become a Fan on Facebook for inside info.

* In an effort to disclose, my friend was provided complimentary tickets to the show. She invited me as a guest.

2 thoughts on “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at Mad Cow Theatre

  1. I completely agree! I thought the cast was excellent and the writing was really witty, but overall the material was a little inaccessible for me. I think this was somewhat intentional, though since it is really supposed to be an expansion on the fates of two ancillary characters in Hamlet (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern) and since they are not privy in that play to the majority of the action that takes place in that story line, they are confused in this one and trying to piece together what their “role” is.

    In addition, I liked that R&G themselves seemed to get confused as to which one was which just as everyone else mixed them up and I get that they were trading personality traits and motivations back and forth because of this confusion. Still, recognizing this didn’t keep me from often wondering what the Hell was going on through most of the second half of the show.

    And finally, I think we didn’t get programs because it was a preview show (and I am really REALLY grateful for the tickets!) And, like you said, I think this would have helped our second intermission confusion enormously.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

%d bloggers like this: