Stoppard’s brilliant 1967 play takes the two minor characters of Hamlet through an existentialist journey made up of language, a world in which these two anti-heroes, inexplicably called into being by a court messenger, can participate only through linguistic games as they try to explain their existence and purpose. The marvel of this play was its youthful wit as the two original actors, Brian Murray and John Wood, attempted to best each other with rapid-fire language games:
Ros: That’s why we’re here (He looks round, seems doubtful.
then the explanation) Travelling
Ros: (Dramatically) It was urgent—a matter of extreme urgency,
lest we come too late!
Guil: Then what are we doing here, I ask myself.
Ros: You might well ask.
Guil: We better get on.