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Theater presents 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern' tragicomedy March 6-22

Famed Stoppard satire latest Nutz 'n' Boltz Theater offering

One of the most popular tragicomic satires ever staged comes to Boring this month when The Nutz ‘n’ Boltz Theater Company presents “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.”

Starring Nathan Wright as Rosencrantz and Arthur Delaney as Guildenstern, Tom Stoppard’s 1966 play is a backstory of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” told from the perspective of the Danish Prince’s two foolhardy friends destined for death and other nonsense. The title comes from the final scene of “Hamlet,” when Hamlet, having been exiled to England, discovers en route a letter from his now-untrustworthy friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The letter commands Hamlet’s murder upon his arrival in England, but Hamlet rewrites the letter to command Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s death and escapes back to Denmark.

“It’s good, it’s funny, it’s unlike any play I’ve done before,” says Wright, 33, a Clackamas resident. “It’s kind of absurdist, and it’s a little off-kilter.”Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - From left: Arthur Delaney and Nathan Wright cross wits in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead this month at Nutz n Boltz Theater.

The play will open Friday, March 6, and runs through Sunday, March 22, at the Boring-Damascus Grange Hall, 27861 Grange St., Boring. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets cost $10-$12. The play is suitable for all ages, but best enjoyed by those 10 and older.

For more information, call 503-593-1295 or visit nnbtheater.com.

To see or not to see

Wright notes that “Rosencratz and Guildenstern” is a little more challenging to act than other plays.

“It’s harder to memorize than a lot of other plays that I’ve done,” Wright says. “Usually in a play you’re cued by what the other person says. In this play there’s a lot of lines that don’t really relate to what the other person said, so it’s kind of flying blind. You’ve got to really buckle down and memorize the lines.”

Delaney adds that the play’s “incredibly snappy and witty dialogue” still delivers a half century after the play was first produced.

“It’s one of the best plays that I feel was written in the 20th century in the English language,” he says.

Wright says the play is “funny in a way that not a lot of other plays are,” because it combines slapstick, quips and jokes.

“There’s bits and pieces of every kind of comedy that you can find wrapped into one show.”

Delaney says part of the play’s appeal is rooted in the characters’ outlooks. His character, Guildenstern, “is always analytical. He wants empirical evidence for everything going on.”

That’s a bit of contrast to his own personality, Delaney says.

“I’m probably primarily an emotional person rather than an analytical person,” he says. “But I certainly identify with his need to know what the meaning of life is and the ins and outs of why and what we’re doing here.”

Delaney says audiences should enjoy the famed play.

“The two characters are likable people in confusing situations trying to make the best of things,” he says. “If that isn’t understandable, nothing is.”

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