Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are DeadName:
Viewing and Reading Questions
__________________________________________________________________________________________________ About twenty-five years after writing the play, Stoppard (pronounced Stow-pard) wrote and directed the movie version of his play that we are viewing in class. He purposefully made changes in words and actions: deletions, alterations, and additions. While the stage version relies mainly on words and their manipulation, the movie relies more on visual images. To gain full appreciation for the writer’s craft, it is important that a full reading and a full viewing of both take place. As you watch the movie and after you have read the play, think about and respond to the following questions. Type your responses on this document (a copy is on my teacherweb page). 1. What obvious changes are in the script. (List at least five.) 2. Notice these motifs and decide on their meanings:
•the wind blowing:
•sheets of paper (often blowing, sometimes folded):
•a dog howling
3. The bare stage becomes a realistic, detailed set. They are in a real castle and on a real boat. What effect does this realism have on a play? Can an absurd play be performed in a literal way?
4. One visual joke that is added shows one of our heros creating and eating a Dagwood-style hamburger, straight from the 20th century. What other jokes (mainly visual) do you find? (List at least three) 5. How predominant is Hamlet in the movie?
How is he shown?
Compared to the play, what portion of the movie consists of scenes from Hamlet? How does this affect the movie?
6. How is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s disappearance scene changed? Does this change the play?
Does it make the Player guilty of their deaths?
Defend or attack this change.
7. Instead of simple, on-the-spot mime shows, the movie has a dumb show with skulls, a drowning,...