‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’ in Redlands

What a difference a medium makes.

Earlier in this blog, I posted a review of Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” (check the December archives if you want to reminisce). After the review posted, a coworker-to-remain-nameless teased me a little about my negative review but told me that the play was coming to Redlands.

To quote myself:

“A heady and talky enterprise would lend itself well to the stage, where the tools and tricks of film just aren’t available, but in a medium based on visuals, endless philosophical dialogue becomes dull and ultimately pointless. … “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead” is too much a part of the theatrical experience to make the cinematic leap; nothing specific dooms the film, except that the premise was flawed from the start.”

Not to brag too much, but I was so right.

The barebones (and at times obscured) set of The Performance Loft accomplished what a back lot and star power couldn’t; David Caldwell (Rosencrantz) and Rob Foley (Guildenstern), along with rest of the Redlands Regional Players and 3 Theatre group, breathed life into the material and made the experience fun and thoughtful in ways that the movie, hindered by the medium and lifeless directing, just couldn’t. I even liked the 1st Player (played to perfection by Patrick Brien) this time around, a role I found obnoxious-to-no-end in film.

 While I got the film, it wasn’t an enjoyable experience, but now at least I can say the material, in the proper medium, lives up to its reputation.

The cast is also performing “Hamlet,” which I can’t write about as I didn’t see it, but both shows are still going on for this week: “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” will play the last performance at the California Baptist University in Riverside on Friday, and “Hamlet” is playing today (Thursday) and Saturday.