” “Cut to the chase” is a phrase that means to get to the point without wasting time.
The saying originated from early film studios’ silent films. It was a favorite of, and thought to have been coined by, Hal Roach Sr.
Films, particularly comedies, often climaxed in chase scenes. Some inexperienced screenwriters or directors would pad the film with unnecessary dialogue, which bored the audience and prolonged the time before the exciting chase scene. Cut to the chase was a phrase used by movie studio executives to mean that the audience shouldn’t get bored by the extra dialogue, and that the film should get to the interesting scenes without unnecessary delays. The phrase is now widely used, and means “get to the point.”
An earlier version of the phrase (recorded 1880–1940) was Cut to Hecuba. This refers to the practice of shortening matinée performances of Hamlet by cutting the long speeches before the reference to Hecuba in *Act II, Scene ii.”
“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is an absurdist, existential tragicomedy by Tom Stoppard, first staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966. The play expands upon the exploits of two minor characters from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the courtiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The main setting is Denmark.
The action of Stoppard’s play takes place mainly “in the wings” of Shakespeare’s, with brief appearances of major characters from Hamlet who enact fragments of the original’s scenes. Between these episodes the two protagonists voice their confusion at the progress of events occurring onstage without them in Hamlet, of which they have no direct knowledge.
Comparisons have also been drawn with Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, for the presence of two central characters who almost appear to be two-halves of a single character. Many plot features are similar as well: the characters pass time by playing Questions, impersonating other characters, and interrupting each other or remaining silent for long periods of time.
Metatheatre is a central structural element of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Scenes that are staged as plays, dumb shows, or commentaries on dramatic theory and practice are prominent in both Stoppard’s play and Shakespeare’s original tragedy Hamlet. In Hamlet, metatheatrical elements include the Player’s speech* (2.2), Hamlet’s advice to the Players (3.2), and the meta-play “The Mousetrap” (3.3). Since Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are characters from Hamlet itself, Stoppard’s entire play can be considered a piece of metatheatre. Bernardina da Silveira Pinheiro observes that Stoppard uses metatheatrical devices to produce a “parody” of the key elements of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that includes foregrounding two minor characters considered “nonentities” in the original tragedy.”