Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

The lights come up on a formless landscape; two men sit, one flipping coins into the air, the other catching them. So begins the Franklin W. Olin Players’ magnificent production of Tom Stoppard’s absurdist comedy, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Most of us are familiar with Shakespeare’s Hamlet – a tale of treachery and royal intrigue which examines such themes as suicide, misogyny, and tragic uncertainty – and many of us likely remember Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two peripheral characters who appear in three scenes, deliver a handful of lines, and are parenthetically killed off in the final act (oh yes, spoiler alert: at the end of Hamlet, EVERYONE DIES).

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The Meaning of Empowerment

Reading the front-page article in the most recent issue of Frankly Speaking, this reader became very perplexed. The article used phrases like “military-industrial complex” and “ultimate institution of disempowerment, of aggression, domination, and death” to describe the U.S. Armed Forces. The article included radical implications – that a nonlethal defense-sponsored project, or even a project sponsored by a company whose customers include the U.S. Department of Defense, is undeserving of Olin students’ time and effort and just plain immoral.

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