Best Of 2008

BEST PLAY: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at Jobsite

Jobsite worked wonders with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Did you ever get the feeling that you were a bit player in someone else’s story? In Tom Stoppard’s modern classic, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, minor figures in Hamlet, are given center stage, and the result is somewhere between Chaplinesque hilarity and Kierkegaardian dread. The brilliant Jobsite Theater production, directed by Katrina Stevenson, gave us all of Stoppard’s themes: the confusion of life, the fear of death and the sense of being swept up in a tragedy out of one’s control. David Jenkins and Shawn Paonessa were impeccable in the leads, and Paul Potenza as the Player was mean, depraved, needy, earthy, flamboyant and unforgettable. R&G was also ample evidence that Jobsite Theater has come of age: Working almost entirely with its core group of actors (including Matt Lunsford, Jason Evans and Kari Goetz), the company offered a sublime version of an exceedingly difficult play. Thanks to actors like these — and to a director as intelligent as Stevenson — R&G was easily the best show of the year.