Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell is no stranger to Tom Stoppard. He directed The Hard Problem, Arcadia, Travesties, The Invention of Love, and the virtual reading of Leopoldstadt at Court; he directed Rock ‘n’ Roll at Goodman Theatre; and he lectured about Stoppard at the University of Chicago’s Graham School. With all that, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, arguably Stoppard’s best-known work, never sparked his interest.
That all changed last year: “I read it. And I read it again. And I read it a third time. And everything clicked.”
The original 1967 production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead launched the young Stoppard’s career; that is well-known. What is lesser-known is that Stoppard was writing what would be his only novel, Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon, at the same time as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The play was not going well, so when confronted with rave reviews of his work, Stoppard originally thought it was his novel that received the warm reception. He could not have been more wrong. Here, Tom Stoppard, the Novelist, diverged from Tom Stoppard, the Playwright. It was a turning point—a moment of self, clarified—much like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s search for identity in his signature play.
The journey to discover oneself through art is universal and a basic human need. However, Stoppard’s work is often regarded as dense, complicated, and “too clever by half.” Court’s relationship with University of Chicago scholars generates incredible intellectual resources to honor his brilliance. This is crucial, without question, but it is just one key to understanding Stoppard’s work.
We are committed to celebrating the emotional journeys of Stoppard’s plays as much as the intellectual. We tap into the humanity of his work; we foster emotional connections to his dazzling ideas. This distinctive union of head and heart casts his plays in a unique light, unveiling transformative opportunities.
Upend your assumptions about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and let us surprise you. This will be Stoppard as you’ve never seen him before.