Tom Stoppard in Conversation

ISBN-10: 0472065610

ISBN-13: 9780472065615

Edition: N/A

List price: $34.95
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Book details

List price: $34.95
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication date: 7/1/1994
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 328
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.188
Language: English

When the National Theatre needed a last-minute substitute for a canceled production of As You Like It, Kenneth Tynan decided to stage Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a work by an unfamiliar author that had received discouraging notices from provincial critics at its Edinburgh Festival debut. Of course, the play, when it opened in April 1967, met with universal acclaim. In New York the next year, it was chosen best play by the Drama Critics Circle. In such an unlikely way, Tom Stoppard came to light. Born in Czechoslovakia, a country he left (for Singapore) when he was an infant, he began his literary career as a journalist in Bristol, where play reviewing led to playwriting. After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Stoppard's reputation suffered through the production of a number of minor works, whose intellectual preoccupations were shrugged off by reviewers: Enter a Free Man (1968; "an adolescent twinge of a play," N.Y. Times), The Real Inspector Hound (1968; "lightweight," N.Y. Times), and After Magritte. But in the 1970s, the initial enthusiasms aroused by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were more than vindicated by the production of two full-length plays, Jumpers (1974) and the antiwar play Travesties (1975), whose immense verbal and theatrical inventiveness made them absolute successes on both sides of the Atlantic. Stoppard's method from the start has been to contrive explanations for highly unlikely encounters---of objects (the ironing board, old lady, and bowler hat of After Magritte), characters (Joyce, Lenin, and Tzara in Travesties), and even plays (Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, The Importance of Being Earnest, Travesties, and The Real Thing, 1982). In the 1970s, Tynan called for Stoppard---as a Czech and as an artist---to engage himself politically. But although political subjects have since found their way into pieces from Every Good Boy Deserves Favor (1977) to Squaring the Circle (1985), politics and art seem to have become just two more of the playwright's irreconcilables, which meet, but never join, in the logical frames of his comedy. The presence of political material---such as the Lenin sections that nearly ruin the second part of Travesties---has occasionally strained the structure of the plays. But in The Real Thing Stoppard is comfortable enough with the satire on art and activism to bring a third subject, love, into the mix. Stoppard has acknowledged his Eastern European heritage nonpolitically, in a series of adaptations of plays by Arthur Schnitzler (see Vol. 2), Johann Nestroy, and Ferenc Molnar.

A Note on the Text
Success Is the Only Unusual Thing about Mr. Stoppard (1967)
Tom Stoppard (1968)
Our Changing Theatre, No. 3: Changes in Writing (1970)
Stoppard Refutes Himself, Endlessly (1972)
Arts Commentary (1972)
Dialogue with Tom Stoppard (1973)
Tom Stoppard (1973)
Ambushes for the Audience: Towards a High Comedy of Ideas (1974)
Jumpers Author Is Verbal Gymnast (1974)
'Call Me the Thinking Man's Farceur' (1974)
Tom Stoppard Eats Steak Tartare with Chocolate Sauce (1975)
Tom Stoppard (1977)
Tom Stoppard, Nonstop: Word Games with a Hit Playwright (1977)
A Playwright on the Side of Rationality (1977)
So Often Produced, He Ranks with Shaw (1977)
The Politicizing of Tom Stoppard (1978)
KGB to Blame in the End (1978)
The South Bank Show (1978)
A Playwright in Undiscovered Country (1979)
Stoppard's Intellectual Cartwheels Now with Music (1979)
This Time, Stoppard Plays It (Almost) Straight (1979)
Tom Stoppard and the Politics of Morality (1980)
Double Acts: Tom Stoppard and Peter Wood (1980)
Trad Tom Pops In (1981)
Tom Stoppard: Kind Heart and Prickly Mind (1984)
Two Men on an Ocean Wave (1984)
Tom Stoppard: The Art of Theater VII (1988)
Stoppard's Secret Agent (1988)
The Event and the Text (1988)
Full Stoppard (1989)
Welcome to the World of Tom Stoppard (1989)
Stoppard Ascending (1989)
Script Jockey: The Flickering Images of Theatre (1991)
Third Ear (1991)
Tom's Sound Affects (1991)
Stoppard Basks in a Late Indian Summer (1991)
Is The Real Inspector Hound a Shaggy Dog Story? (1992)
In a Country Garden (If It Is a Garden) (1993)
Plotting the Course of a Playwright (1993)
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