On Friday, I was telling my friend Kristov and his lively wife about my Honours topic. Kristov brought up a play that I’d forgotten about, which I had to go pick up in order to revise it and think about how it could help me.
I was telling Kristov and his wife about the Postmodern Literary convention that states: there are no new stories, only new ways of telling them; this is often evidenced by a typical story being told from the opposite persoective, for example, Pride and Prejudice from Bingley’s perspective. Immediately, he said, “Like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead!”
Rosencrantz and Duildenstern are incidental characters in Hamlet, and in 1967, playwright Tom Stoppard saw fit to reveal their story. The characters’ lack of self-knowledge is played up more than I would ever want to, but the play reveals how even an minor role is often fleshed out in an actor’s mind. It also shows how little is needed to create a “character.”