On the way home from Florida SouthWestern State College’s production of Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead, my husband and I speculated why Professor Stuart Brown had chosen this play. Minimal set? Yes. Smallish number of people in the cast? Also yes. But lots of plays would have met those requirements.
An answer finally dawned on me. Having worked at FSW in the First Year Experience department, I realized that Tom Stoppard’s absurdist play served as a good metaphor for the beginning of college life. The two main characters don’t really know who they are, why they are where they are, and what exactly they are supposed to be doing.
The two leads look nothing alike, yet those around them, and at times even they themselves, couldn’t tell them apart. Daniel King as Rosencranz has an expressive face and a wonderful sense of comedy timing. His street-casual persona was balanced nicely by the more philosophical Tim Cash as Guildenstern who sported an ascot and a man purse throughout.
Alex Holmes as Player had perhaps the best diction on stage. Make no mistake, this play has lots and lots of dialogue. Kudos to all for being able to memorize it much less speak it. In the confines of FSW’s 50-seat Black Box Theatre, the volume isn’t a problem. The actors, as with most learning their craft, just need to speak a tad more slowly and exaggerate their enunciation a bit more for better comprehension on the part of the audience. Still, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.
I enjoyed the costume choices of Aida Bukovica who mixed Shakespearean with modern day. The red pumps that Tyler Charpentier had to wear as the hapless Alfred were fetching as was the mink stole of Queen Gertrude, Julia Rivera. She and Efrain Lopez as Claudius projected a mature and dignified presence even though both are still freshmen at FSW.
The play continues Nov. 12 through 14.Tickets are only $10 for general admission or $5 for students at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2413749 or by calling (239) 433-8007. The Black Box Theatre is in the college’s Humanities Building L119b. This is the building right next to Barbara B. Mann, so parking is free, adequate, and convenient.
Professor Brown, in his introduction before the play, commended the students for all of the time, talents, and energy they put into this production when they could have been at the beach. I heartily second that. Bravo for a great job.