Meadows Theatre has set the stage for Tom Stoppard’s award-winning play inspired by the final scene of Hamlet – and told from the point of view of the two luckless characters who meet their fates offstage.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Kara-Lynn Vaeni, runs Wednesday-Sunday, Feb. 28-March 4, 2018 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $8 each for SMU students, faculty and staff.
Described by The Guardian’s Michael Billington as “an astonishing balance between cross-talk comedy and poignant awareness of mortality,” Stoppard’s work focuses on Hamlet from the perspective of the title character’s childhood friends, who have been charged with spying on the prince by his uncle, King Claudius. Hamlet, Ophelia and other Shakespearean characters swirl in and out of the action as the increasingly bewildered courtiers proceed inexorably toward their doom.
First staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966, Stoppard’s absurdist tragicomedy won four 1968 Tony Awards, including Best Play. It received the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best play in 1968 and was named Outstanding Production by the Outer Critics’ Circle in 1969. Stoppard himself adapted and directed a film version in 1990, starring Gary Oldman and Tim Roth.
The show has a two-hour running time, with a 10-minute intermission at the end of Act I. Please remember that photography and recording of any kind are expressly forbidden at all Meadows School of the Arts performances.
Three contemporary works, including newly created pieces by Complexions Ballet co-founders Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson and by Associate Professor Christopher Dolder, are highlights of the Meadows School of the Arts’ Fall Dance Concert. The show runs Nov. 8-12, 2017 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.
The program will open with Dolder’s new version of Bolero, set to a London Symphony recording of Ravel’s famous work. An interactive set featuring a circular stage space, curving ramps and central spire provide the physical backdrop for dancers representing an array of societal archetypes perennially caught in the cycles of life and culture. Dolder, a former soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company, has previously expressed a fascination for architectural design in productions of His Handle (2014), Metropolis (2015) and a collaboration with Canadian wood sculptor Erik More in The Orca Project (2016).
Ascension is a new piece created by Visiting Artists-in-Residence Richardson and Rhoden, featuring a blend of ballet and contemporary dance expressed in sculptural choreography. Complexions Ballet has received numerous honors, including The New York Times Critics’ Choice Award, and has performed at Lincoln Center and The Joyce Theater in New York, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, and most recently at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as part of “Ballet Across America.” Celebrated for his choreography and wide-ranging collaborations with well-known dance artists, Rhoden has created over 80 ballets for Complexions and for numerous other major companies. Richardson is a Tony-nominated actor and the first black American principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre.
Concluding the program is Moncell Durden’s Drop Me Off in Harlem, a tribute to the music and dance of the 1930s. Premiered earlier this year, it uses vernacular jazz movement to recount the adventures of three ladies from Pennsylvania who travel to New York City to dance at the famous Savoy Ballroom and watch the battle of the bands between Benny Goodman and Chick Webb. The audience follows Norma, Mabel and Dawn as they navigate the spirited streets, subways and ballrooms of New York and Harlem nightlife. Durden is a choreographer, historian, dance educator and current faculty member at the University of Southern California, where he teaches jazz, hip-hop and improvisation.
Fall Dance Concert performance times are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $14 for adults, $11 for seniors and $8 for students, SMU faculty and staff.