I've been planning to read Tom Stoppard since....the 12th grade. It was during senior year of high school that I was first introduced to him via the film adaptation "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead." I forgot about him for a few years until a phone conversation with a like-minded literary friend. Said friend called me up just because she was reading "Arcadia." There was a particular monologue that had blown her away, and she couldn't but not call me to discuss it. Let a few more years pass, and I finally get around to reading "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead." I also end up buying this book of plays that does not have R&G in it.
It sits on my shelf for.....at least four years. I pick it up. Plan to read it several times. I even take it with me to a few different countries. But I just never sit down to read it.
So I finally did. Well, at least two plays.
I'm going to talk about "The Real Thing" first because I was OK with it. Like many modern plays, it deals with the play within a play within a play and etc. It's about two people who's names I have now forgotten. The question is what is love? Had I paid more attention I might be able to answer how "The Real Thing" compares to Raymond Chandler's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." And I liked that Chandler story.
And then I read "Arcadia." Just....wow. I think that play stuck with my for a good two weeks after I finished reading it. It is about how....everything is okay until it's not okay. As the audience, you discover one thing that changes the entire landscape of the play you've been watching/reading. Thinking about it now, even a month or two later, and I still catch my breath.
Safe plot summary though: The play jumps between two time periods: modern and 1809 in a large, English country house. The past follows the indiscretionous revelation between young Thomasina's tutor Septimus and some lady as well as his relationship to George Gordon, Lord Byron. And in the modern era, we learn how theorist Bernard is going to WOW the literary world by connecting Byron to the estate. I would be very interested to see this play on stage because it's very playful until..you hit that one, brief part. I wonder how the director, cast and crew would color the play knowing that that was coming?
Nothing else to add, as of yet, on Night & Day, Indian Ink and Hapgood! .