A conversation and a chess competition between Hamlet’s friends and supporting characters of the Shakespearean tragedy against the backdrop of a Soviet tear-off calendar of the 1980s. Tom Stoppard’s famous play ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD started with them betting on the toss of a coin, with Rosencrantz winning while Guildenstern’s purse was almost empty; however, neither of them experienced any remorse or worry about it. The play, written by Stoppard in 1966, documented the paleness of the time, its emptiness and hollowness, in which lived characters without any properties but a love for paradoxes and brain games. Dmitry Volkostrelov’s stage characters drop their lines sullenly and without tension and also play their game in an empty time – the late stagnation period that will be followed by 1985, the year of perestroika and a new era. The view on that time through a modest, almost transparent man, who with gentlemanly coldness is focused on what is for him most important: playing chess and making conversation, reveals the present times in a new light in its irreality and almost absurd airlessness. Approaching the calendar, which records on a par events of great and minor importance – the New Year holidays and coups d'état – the characters look at it in amazement, as if they were staring into a mirror. What could be such a reflection for the modern generation: a dead end which is as hopeless as checkmate on a black-and-white chessboard.

Kristina Matvienko
Dmitry Volkostrelov

Rozencrantz and Guildenstern

TYuZ, St. Petersburg
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2018
Director: Dmitry Volkostrelov
Set designer: Dmitry Volkostrelov