I discovered Tom Stoppard when I was in junior high. I was involved in a youth theater program and one of my pals showed up with a copy of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.” I was immediately hooked. I was giddy with the word play Mr. Stoppard employs. She and I would spend hours sitting on the steps between rehearsals or during breaks reading that script – she as Guildenstern, me as Rosencrantz. (Decades on, we still address each other with those names and can recite parts of the play from memory.)
The best part of the whole script is the scant few pages that encompass the Questions Game. Rules are simple: keep asking questions. A point is scored if the opponent returns with a statement, repeats a question, hesitates, or uses rhetoric. Check out how Gary Oldman and Tim Roth play the game in the movie version here:
I was reminded of this when my buddy Guildenstern posted a video from the Old Vic with Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire playing a non-scripted version of the game as a promo for their upcoming production. Check out their version here:
An online game of questions quickly ensued with friends from different parts of my life chiming in. A portion of the exchange:
Was it your intent to score?
Did you start the game?
Ooo, can I play?
Is it good if I am already down one point?
Would you prefer it to be good?
Would I be a fool to prefer it so?
Are fools the only ones who can play?
Are you foolish?
Could any answer truly stop us from playing?
I couldn’t help but think to our conversations here that always start with a question.
A brief recap of the rules: only speak in questions. Statements, pauses, repeats or rhetoric will give a point to…someone. How much of the day can we spend only speaking to each other using only the interrogatory?
Would you like to play at Questions?