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The "Opposite of People": Theatrical Doubling and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

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Author: Behm, Megan
Advisor: Wolf, Laurie J.
Committee Members: Wiley, Elizabeth; Wilson, Brett; Palmer, Richard H.
Issued Date: 5/5/2011
Subjects: Doubling
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10288/13662
Description: Tom Stoppard is a modern playwright who is concerned with absurdism, metatheatricality, and language as tools to explore the nature and definitions of reality. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Stoppard's first major work, focuses on all of these themes' and is specifically one of Stoppard's most theatrical plays. Doubling is a longstanding theatrical tradition in which one actor portrays multiple characters within a dramatic work. Doubling began as a practical method to stage large-cast productions with reduced economic cost, but was also used in more conceptual ways --a practice that disappeared in the Victorian era. Over the past century, various directors have rediscovered thematic ways to use doubling, making daring implications about politics, sexuality, and history and offering alternate interpretations to classic works. However, I strongly believe that since doubling is intensely metatheatrical, it can be used on its own, not only to illuminate other concepts, but to point out its own theatrical implications. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is a work that traditionally "requires" anywhere from twenty to forty actors, yet its metatheatrical implications could be greatly strengthened by the use of doubling. For that reason, this thesis, in conjunction with the process of directing a production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, will examine how Stoppard's first masterpiece could be thematically strengthened by the use of doubling.
Degree: Bachelors of Arts in Theatre, Speech and Dance

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