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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern aren’t dead, just selling insurance

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A park bench. It is spring, the earth is returning to life, a faint warmth can be felt in the air. Two friends are discussing their finances.
Rosencrantz: We need a plan no one has thought of. We need a plan to make money that is so original it is startling in its simplicity. We need a plan that is outside the realm of the grey men in suits and yet reaches out to people.  
Guildenstern: You’re right Rosencrantz. We need people to trust us – after all, we are honourable men – with their money. 
Rosencrantz: Yes, but we must be innovators. This isn’t about merely turning the wheels of finance. This is about reinventing the wheel. And to do that we have to be bold, even reckless. We must amplify the possibilities!
Guildenstern:  And yet appear to be otherwise. We must have the gravitas, and human touch, of a mighty institution.
Rosencrantz: Yes. So, what is the most important element of life Guildenstern?
Guildenstern: Staying alive?
Rosencrantz: No. It’s peace of mind. And a particular peace of mind is knowing that those you love will be OK when you die. It’s called life insurance. With the right amount someone can feel safe knowing their loved ones will be looked after financially if they topple off the perch.
Guildenstern: Of course.
Rosencrantz: The trouble is the market is too crowded. We need to find a new market.
Guildenstern: But how? The market is what it is. It’s the living.
Rosencrantz: Exactly. So we will be insuring the dead. 
Guildenstern: The dead? What shall we be insuring them against? Maggots? A diminished lifestyle? An untimely burst of breeze? 
Rosencrantz: Hear me out. There are many more people dead than there are alive. Some say that for every one person alive, there are 15 dead. That’s a huge difference and a massive opportunity for budding entrepreneurs such as our good and honourable selves.
Guildenstern: But how do the dead pay us? With a guest haunting on a winter’s night?
Rosencrantz: They don’t. That’s the genius of the plan. The living do – even when they are dead. And by then they can’t stop it. Genius. Absolute genius. If I were of a cunning disposition I’d allow myself a small smile.
Guildenstern: But are we allowed to do this?
Rosencrantz: It’s not a question that need worry us, my friend. If there were a clamour at the practice, we could simply move to another use for a dead body.
Guildenstern: Like that book on the various uses for a dead cat.
Rosencrantz: Uncouth analogy my friend – we would never advise a dead body to be used as a toast holder – but yes. We might charge dead people for the financial advice we are giving them.
Guildenstern: Such as, don’t take out life insurance.
Rosencrantz: Quite. We could say it was for the common wealth of all.
Guildenstern: Or you can’t take your money with you when you die.
Rosencrantz: But we can take it from you!
They both bend over, laughing. 
Together: To the dead!

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[box]Tim Minchin and Toby Schmitz in the 2013 Sydney Theatre Company production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. Photo by Heidrun Lohr [/box]

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