IN HAMLET, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern aren't much more than a footnote.
Brought to life by brothers Caleb and Ethan Faulks, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is to Shakespeare what Wicked is to The Wizard of Oz.
"It's the backstory we never got to hear in Hamlet itself about these two characters and how they stumble in and out of situations until ultimately they die," director Glendon Fletcher said.
"It's two characters out of their depth and fundamentally it's about fate and free will with a comic edge."
Nine weeks of hard work has led up to the Tamworth Dramatic Society's production, with a cast of 16 and a 1920's context.
Written by Tom Stoppard, the absurdist comedy follows the exploits of courtiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who are confused as snippets of Hamlet go on around them.
There's been slight alterations but the Tamworth chronicle sticks largely to the script, Mr Fletcher said.
"As a rule of thumb it's not one you can edit or chop up," he said.
"Generally I go for the cheesy if I can, with this play I've stayed in a realist bent with a surreal twist.
"Working in community theatre it's about allowing them to bring what they've got to the text and work with them to enhance it."
No prior knowledge of Shakespeare is needed to enjoy the performance, but an appreciation of his work helps.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead opens at the Capitol Theatre August 16.