I'd like to use a RewriteRule that would convert http://www.mysite.com/the_work to http://www.mysite.com/index.php?page=the_work.

The reason is I'd like to be able to use $_GET['page'] to identify the current page while offering a SEO-friendly URL to the page.

What I planned to do is like this:

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on

RewriteRule ^the_work/ /the_work [R]
RewriteRule ^the_work /index.php?page=the_work

Is this the right way of doing this?

Many thanks in advance!