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June 15, 2009

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are... tweeting?


So wrote Peter Aspden in his June 13, 2009 Financial Times column, to wit:


Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are not only alive and well; they are tweeting. Their dispatches come from the current filming of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s recent production of Hamlet, starring David Tennant, due to be screened by the BBC later in the year. The location is semi-secret, for it seems there are no lengths to which Doctor Who fans will not go to catch a glimpse of their sprightly time-travelling master turn to more earthly existential matters.

On the RSC’s twitter site, there is lyricism and the odd glimpse of pathos as R and G, played by Sam Alexander and Keith Osbourne, come to grips with the filming schedule. “Up @ 6, sleep washed away with large mug of tea, bathe, dress, drive into the coolness of milky grey English morn 2 Elsinore,” reports Guildenstern. His friend dutifully chronicles the growth of his stubble for his scene as the second gravedigger. Both give the impression of alternating boredom and excitement, which sounds about right.

These are small and seemingly insignificant matters. Nearly 3,000 people follow the RSC’s tweets, which is not a large number relative to the company’s “proper” audience. But like all the country’s cultural institutions, the RSC has been quick to seize on the spread of a new medium. Its opportunism is well-placed. Dissemination is the keynote of culture in the 21st century. By coincidence, just as that message began to make itself felt from politicians, technology obliged with the perfect means to the end. Who knows where it will lead; but all must follow.


After I read "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" for the first time toward the end of the last century, I was changed forever.

Might be time for an encore — it wouldn't be the first and hopefully won't be the last.

June 15, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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