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Although Tom Stoppard established his reputation with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead when it was first produced in 1966 the playwright often appears reluctant to talk about his second play Stoppard who most critics report to be a very private person repeatedly offers his interviewers only cryptic responses to their questions about the meaning of the piece When asked whether or not Rosencrantz and Guildenstern embodies any particular philosophy Stoppard replied that the play does not reveal any profound theories or metaphysical insights on a conscious level but one is a victim and beneficiary of ones subconscious all the time and obviously one is making choices all the time Its difficult for me to endorse or discourage particular theories I personally think that anybodys set of ideas which grows out of the play has its own validity Stoppard like many renowned playwrights before him seems almost to delight in adopting such an equivocal stance As he tells Rodger Hudson Catherine Itzin and Simon Trussler--the editors of Theatre Quarterly-- in a frequently cited interview insofar as its possible for me to look at my own work objectively at all the element which I find most valuable is the one that other people are put off by--that is that there is very often no single clear statement in my plays 1 Similarly in an interview with Jon Bradshaw Stoppard explains the play had no substance beyond its own terms beyond its apparent situation It was about two courtiers in a Danish castle Two nonentities surrounded by intrigue given very little information and much of that false It had nothing to do with the condition of modern man or the decline of metaphysics One wasnt thinking Life is an anteroom in which one has to kill time Or I wasnt at any rate God help us what a play that would have been But Rosencrantz and Guildenstern wasnt about that at all It was about two blokes
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