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Friday, May 27, 2005


One of my favorite plays, Tom Stoppard's Travesties is making a rare American appearance at the Long Wharf in New Haven. Starring Sam Waterston! See Isherwood's review here, which is mixed, but gives a sense of the play.

Oh, it's Stoppard at his most Stoppardian, alright. A twisted retelling on The Importance of Being Earnest through the prism of James Joyce, Tristan Tzara, and Lenin, set in 1917 Switzerland. At its core is a (very 70s) critique of all absolutisms--from Bolshevism to Dadaism--in the context of the historical crisis from which they emerged. And, especially, it is about the appropriation of art for all the best and worst political reasons...And its narrator/protagonist is a real life footnote from Ulysses!

Maybe one day Stoppard will get his due for being among the first playwrights to bring postmodern and documentary techniques to the "mainstream" theatre--which is what makes this play still experimental.

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