Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and Matt Daniels

First Stage Young Company stages Tom Stoppard's Contemporary classic

By Russ Bickerstaff
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First Stage's Young Company closes out its season with a production of Tom Stoppard's classic absurdist existentialist tragicomedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead . The twisted margins of Hamlet take center stage in a show that probably doesn't get staged quite nearly as often as it should. 

 

This is First Stage's Young Company performing the show, which should provide an interesting experience for anyone beyond friends and family . . . high school kids play those minimal characters who are helplessly stuck on a course of events that will ultimately result in their own demise. This is deep, deep contemporary stuff for high school that moves pretty far afield of the traditional drama that finds its way to high school stages. First Stage has the right kind of sophistication to explore this kind of work . . . and it's being explored under the direction of an exceedingly talented Shakespearian actor. Matt Daniels is a real  pleasure to see onstage. He's worked with First Stage numerous times before most memorably in their recent production of A Wrinkle in Time. The SoCal native trained at Juilliard. I know him best from shows he's done with Milwaukee Shakespeare, but he seems destined to be better known for his recurring work with Milwaukee Chamber. (Next season he is scheduled to reprise his role of Jeeves in another Jeeves and Wooster show.) 

 

Daniels has been on First Stage's faculty for the past couple of years and has developed his own course focussed to "get the most out of Shakespeare's text." Sounds like the perfect guy to direct a show like this.  

 

First Stage Young Company's production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead runs May 4th and 5th at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center on 325 West Walnut Street. For ticket reservations, call 414-267-2970.

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