Adkins and Cleberg

Keifer Adkins (left) and Steve Cleberg in "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead"

The works of Wiliam Shakespeare have stood the test of time, but every so often, a critical examination of one of his works makes it own splash into the theater canon. Tom Stoppard’s work, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, is one such canonical addition, and Flashback Theater Co. will be presenting it this February in their Black Box Theater in downtown Somerset. 

Everyone knows the famous “To be or not to be?” line from Hamlet, and most have read the tragic play in an English class somewhere in their educational endeavors. It is from this reference point that audiences can approach Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, which certainly stands on its own. 

Rosencrantz (Kiefer Adkins) and Guildenstern (Steve Cleberg), if you have forgotten, are the two characters tasked with spying on Hamlet (Thomas Alvey) as he makes a show of planning his retaliation against the King (his uncle and usurper). In this play, however, they are the main characters and you see the story of Hamlet unfold from their perspective. You will appreciate their confusion as they constantly question the events swirling around them, their role in those affairs, and whether or not they have any choice as to their next move. 

Watching it all from an outsider perspective is the Player (Sommer Schoch), director of the so-called Tragedians, who hints at Ros and Guil’s future and looks to benefit from their fortune or misfortune (whichever way it goes). In FbTC’s production, the Tragedians are in actuality only one other person, Alfred (Theresa Jean Kibby), and a collection of friendly puppets. 

The Tragedians give Ros and Guil a private preview of the play that will be presented in court - you may recall from Hamlet that this presentation is meant to reveal the King’s plotting - but Ros and Guil never quite connect the dots between actual events and the play’s parallel plotline. This is where the enjoyment lies for the observant audience member: understanding the answers are in front of the characters all the time (if they would pay proper attention) leads to hilarity in the circuitous verbal wit.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is directed by the same talent that brought Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley to the stage last year: Jade Ellis. Her comedic style is showcased in this work, and has allowed her to continue exploring the stage from a new perspective. Her take will have you laughing at logical conclusions, questioning mortality, and enjoying an evening of theater. Adults will certainly appreciate the verbal and mental dexterity of the actors; due to the length and some suggestive content, this production is recommended for ages 12 and up.

Dates and Times

Thursday, February 6, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, February 7, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 2:30 p.m.

Friday, February 14, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 2:30 p.m.

Ticket Prices

Adults – $18 Advance, $20 Door

Students – $12 Advance, $15 Door

*There is $1 per ticket fee for processing.

Tickets may be purchased online (, in person at 400 East Mt. Vernon St, Somerset, KY 42501, Tuesday through Friday 11-5, or be reserved in advance by calling the box office at (888) 394-FbTC. Advance ticket sales end online 2 hours prior to showtime. We accept all major credit cards. Exchanges may be made at no cost up to 24 hours prior to the ticketed performance by calling the box office. 

Flashback Theater is grateful to leading season sponsor, Applied Behavioral Advancements, LLC for their ongoing support. This production is brought to you in partnership with United Cumberland Bank. The following sponsors have made contributions to Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead: Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital, McNeil Music Center, David Daring Rentals, and Dr. Harry and Janice Kennedy. Additionally, the Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, provides operating support to Flashback Theater Co. with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional season support also comes from Kentucky Tourism, and Season Print Sponsor, M&W Printing. 

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