Also effective is Gordon E. Williford as the Player, in a turn every bit as hammy and vulgar as the part demands. Atom Albany leads the mostly silent troupe of tragedians in amiably goofy pantomime.

The great flaw in the production is that the characters from Shakespeare are played with excessive theatrical phoniness, perhaps a directorial misconception. I'll leave them unnamed, except to note that James Adams is inept as Hamlet. Fortunately, the lead characters in Shakespeare's play are only the bit players in Stoppard's, so we spend very little time gnawing our knuckles with horror at the wooden deliveries.

Last season, Grand Canyon University showed that it has one of the finest theatre departments in the Valley, but the talent was consistently burdened by infelicitous choices of material. This year, the season promises to be an adventurous journey for the subscriber, and a pretty good bet for evenings of stimulating theatre. Certainly, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a rousing start.

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