DISCLAIMER: The photos and art work on these pages are for personal use ONLY. All art work created by the web master Jmsstyx using video captures and promo photos. The ATC photos of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were bought
from the Auckland Theatre Company in the form of a program or photos from the photographer.
Prop paper used by Craig and Oliver that Joel Tobeck wadded up and threw at us each night. Good aim Joel. :) He had help from Michael pin pointing our group ;)
These photos are scans from the R and G official Program and the New Zealand Herald. The official photographer is John McDermott.
MANIPS DONE BY JMSSTYXNYES. For personal use only, not to be resold.
Updated text May 26, 2004. It has been three years since the closing night of this play. And about the same amount of time since this page has been here. This is one of the orginal pages to the Craig site, then a part of the Auckland Adventures site. Since then Craig's popularity has soared with Haldir becoming popular with Lord of the Rings fans. I thought it was about time for a proper report on this magnificent play. I was there closing night, along with six other nights with a group of Michael Hurst fans known as the Iolausians. Since that time we have become close friends. Amazing what one kiwi actor can do for a bunch of strangers across the USA. Being aquainted with Michael, we met with him each night to discuss that night's performance. Little did I know three years on, I'd be doing a site for one of the lead actors and becoming aquainted with him. I met with Craig at the Gathering of the Fellowship during a private press conferance, which for us turned out to be a catch up time since we missed seeing each other in New Zealand that previous year. He told me one of his favorite theatrical productions to work on was Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. One of his favorite playwrites is Tom Stoppard. This play was my first real theatrical play and remains my favorite.
So just what went on at the play that was so great? Well, where to begin ;)? It helps to know the play, I'm not gonna relate any of the script, just the hilarious adlibs and jokes these guys did to each other. The book can be bought at any local bookshop and is in the form of a script.
Here are the highlights:
1. One thing I remember was waiting to see Michael as the Player, not knowing anyone else but Joel. As soon as Craig and Oliver started acting, I was hooked. These guys had me laughing so hard, I forgot Michael was in the play ;) Well, not really. But I was relieved to find out it wasn't spoken in Royal Shakespearean. Oliver and Craig worked off each other perfectly.
2.Oliver is much taller than Craig and Michael Hurst is shorter than both. In one scene Guildenstern (Oliver) is getting very fustrated with the Player (Michael). He is 'loosing his grip'. So he puts his arm against the wall blocking the exit and proclaims no one can leave the room....without a good reason. The Player raises up his arms and proclaims "I have lines to learn" and storms out of the area, walking right under Oliver's outstretched arm without ducking.
3. There is a scene when Rosencrantz (Craig) is trying to find Hamlet (Joel) who shows up on the top ledge of the wall(to view an excellent photo of the staging, visit John Parker's site). Craig is boosted up to the ledge with help from Oliver, but can only hang on with his hands and Oliver uses their two walking canes to help support Craig's weight. As Rosencrantz tries to reason with a crazed Hamlet, Hamlet(Joel) is moving away and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern follow him. As Hamlet comes down from the ledge, Guildenstern sees him and drops the canes supporting Rosencrantz. So, Craig as Rosencrantz is left hanging from the wall as Guildenstern talks to Hamlet. Guildenstern yanks Rosencrantz off the wall and he falls with a thud. As he gets up, Guildenstern hands him back his walking cane. But one night, Oliver switched the canes. Oliver being taller, his was longer. When Oliver went to lean on it, he had to bend over and Craig's was much too tall to use.
4. In the scene when they figure out they are on a boat, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are sitting on the deck. Eventually Guildenstern gets up and says he loves the sea and wants to spend the rest of his life there. One night, Oliver said those lines with his back to Craig as always, but this night, our group was on the stage seating and we could see Craig was fidgeting with something. Before Oliver turned around, he put a white hanky on his head, styled into a European hat or something. Oliver turns around to face Craig and was also facing us and the look on his face was priceless. He tried to control his laugher for about 2 minutes before he lost it. The audience was in the isles laughing. Craig joined in too.
5. In one of the most classic moments, it was closing night, the same night as the hanky prank. This was during the scene where Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are sleeping on the deck of the ship and Hamlet comes down to switch the letter document (a scan of the actual prop is below) that proclaims that Hamlet should be killed upon arrival in England. Craig was pretend sleeping next to Oliver. After talking with Craig about this scene, he said they did rehearse this, but it was hilarious none the less. As Joel goes to get the letter out of Oliver's top pocket in his coat, Oliver is suppose to be clenching his arms together preventing Joel from getting to it. Joel then pokes him to get his arms to move. This causes Oliver, or really Guildenstern since this is a part of the script, to fling his arms into a sleeping Rosencrantz, stirring Rosencrantz from his sleep. To prevent Rosencrantz from waking, Hamlet puts his thumb in Rosencrantz's mouth and he starts to suck it as a child would. Since this prevents Hamlet from getting to Guildenstern's coat, he switches his thumb for Rosencrantz's own and proceeds to get the letter out. But at that moment, Oliver does something differant, he pulls on Joel's shirt clinging on to it and Joel ends up falling over Oliver, but not landing on him. He is supporting himself with his hand on the floor. Oliver has a good hold on Joel's shirt, preventing Joel from getting to the letter. Finally Joel just squirms out of the shirt and finishes the scene. He then exited our side of the stage, holding the shirt over his chest to protect modesty ;) Everyone in the building had lost it by then. I was hurting from all the laughing.
6. As reported by a fellow Iolausian from one of the earlier nights of the play, there is a scene where the ship is attacked by pirates and Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and the Player all hide in trap doors in the stage floor. Then they pop up, first Craig and Oliver at the same time, then Michael alone, then all three. That one night, for some reason, when all three popped up together, Craig started laughing and Oliver joined in, and eventually they sunk back down into the trap doors, with Michael peering over at Craig's door trying to find him, keeping composure. Eventually they got the scene and play back on track.
7. While they are on the boat Rosencrantz worries about what they will say to the King of England, but Guildenstern says they have a letter. Still worried, Rosencrantz starts to speak as the King. When he does, Craig dons one of his many voices. One night, he tried a new one and for some reason Oliver just started to loose it. Then, of course Craig and the whole Theatre followed. It took almost 5 minutes for everyone to settle down again.
8. On that same scene, another night, Craig decided to play the pretend King of England as blind and Oliver held the letter up too high for Craig (who had his eyes closed) to reach. When Craig finally got the letter from Oliver, he ran his hand over it as if reading brail. Eventually he continued his lines, reading what the letter said.