The other day on Reddit somebody asked whether you could truly appreciate Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead if you had no previous knowledge of Hamlet.
I suggested that this would be amazing, because you’d then get the rare opportunity of seeing Hamlet as the backstage play!
Think about that. Imagine if R+G was the original, the play you were intended to see and appreciate. And then later somebody came along and said, well, have you seen this one? Would it work? Would Hamlet then forever be the inferior play, or would it clearly outclass Mr. Stoppard’s work?
It’s little more than a thought experiment, because I think that even if you’ve never seen Hamlet, you’ve almost certainly heard of it, and you probably have no choice but to go into R+G with the knowledge that it is a spin-off of that one, and not the other way around.