Rosencrantz & Guildenstern
[ December 06, 2009 ]
The Upper School Play this year was Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard. It is an amazing play that looks at Hamlet through the eyes of two of the most insignificant characters of Shakespeare’s play and pushes their interpretation of the actions that swirl around them at Elsinore and on the way to England to the fore. Apart from the brilliant performances of a number of our students, the play is an amazing representation of what makes this community special–it is at once an entertaining play but also an inspiringly thoughtful play. So much of our entertainment these days is in many ways an anaesthetic that numbs our minds, whereas this play makes you think and ponders our human condition. I was so proud of the faculty and students involved in the production because they made sense of an incredibly difficult play. Stoppard acrobatically plays with words, and yet, his labyrinthine logic was clearly presented by both the actors and the production team. As I have been saying at a number of school events, I am thrilled to be at a school that focuses on developing students as deep and active thinkers. This production was a clear example of this focus.
So often we believe in schools that the development of student minds happens exclusively in the classroom. This was a clear example of how one can take classroom thinking and learning and have it developed in the experiential process of putting on a play. Those boundaries that distinct words summon up, between our school “keywords” of mind, character, commitment and community, were not at all evident in the way that this play worked upon the mind, the senses, the emotions. The play was a holistic representation of those words in action. That was amazing to experience and see.