"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a very funny play about death. Very funny, very brilliant, very chilling; it has the dust of thought about it and the particles glitter excitingly in the theatrical air.” –Clive Davis, New York Times
“The play is a metaphor for our lives, from the time we’re born until we die. The experience Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go through is really what we all go through. The play is dealing with life—which is a heavy description, but keep in mind, it’s hilarious. Although it ends in their deaths, as we know from the title, getting there is an absolute hoot. At the end, it’s not so much sad as it is mysterious: a true and incredibly crafted work of genius.” –Geoff Elliott, A Noise Within
FIRST EDITION OF STOPPARD’S AWARD-WINNING MASTERPIECE, SIGNED BY STOPPARD ON THE TITLE PAGE.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, an absurdist, existential tragicomedy by British playwright Tom Stoppard, was first staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966 and reviewers hailed the piece as a breakthrough for the fresh-faced playwright. The play expands upon the adventures of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two courtiers who function only as minor characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Meta-theatrical in its unfolding, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern takes place mainly “in the wings” of the play from which it was derived, with brief appearances by major characters from Hamlet who enact pieces of scenes from the original play. In the interstices of these episodes, the two virtual nonentities within the world of Shakespeare but now foregrounding characters voice their confusion at the progression of events occurring onstage without them, of which they have no direct knowledge.
This production of the play, which was Stoppard’s first on Broadway, garnered eight Tony Award nominations and four wins. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern also won Best Play from the New York Drama Critics Circle (1968) and Outstanding Production from the Outer Critics Circle in 1969. Its appeal has endured: it was revived in New York in 1987, running for 40 performances, and the American Shakespeare Center has mounted several repertories since 1995. In 1990, Stoppard directed the film adaptation whose cast included Gary Oldman, Tim Roth and Richard Dreyfuss.
A theatrical masterpiece that "[is] verbally dazzling, the most exciting, witty intellectual treat imaginable" (Edith Oliver, The New Yorker).
Note: This is the preferred hardback issue, with dust jacket. (It was also issued in a much more common paperback format.)
London, Faber and Faber, 1967. Octavo, original blue cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in custom half-leather box. Signed by Tom Stoppard on the title page and with Tom Stoppard “With Compliments” card laid-in. Book fine, dust jacket extraordinarily bright with only a few spots of soiling to rear panel.
An outstanding copy of one of the 20th-century’s most enduring dramatic works. Very rare signed.
Price: $5,000 .