Monday, November 05, 2007

Tom Stoppard Makes a Play

Somebody wants to be considered Advanced (NY Times):
Yet anyone who looked hard enough could always see the fragile, hopeful heart beneath the cerebral glitter in Mr. Stoppard’s work during the past 40 years, from “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” (1967) to “The Coast of Utopia” (produced on Broadway last year). Now, for theatergoers who find looking hard to be a strain, there is “Rock ’n’ Roll,” which opened last night at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater under the direction of Trevor Nunn.
At the play’s center is Jan (Rufus Sewell), a Czech university student and a man who the Czech-born, English-educated Mr. Stoppard has said is a might-have-been alter ego: the self he might have been had he returned to live in his homeland. A protégé of Max (Brian Cox), a growling lion of a professor at Cambridge, Jan leaves England for Prague when the city is occupied by Soviet tanks in 1967. His motives, he says, are to save 1) his mother and 2) socialism. Still, his greatest love lies in the grooved vinyl of the only possessions he takes with him: a collection of records by groups like the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground, the Fugs and especially Pink Floyd.
I don't know enough about Stoppard to judge his Advancement, but I do know that the title of this play is awesome.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

saw the four hour tom petty documentary this weekend (i can't believe i ate the whole thing). in one part, the heartbreakers are talking about playing back-up for dylan, and mike campbell says, about the different arrangements and anarchy on stage: "that's one of the things we learned from him, is by breaking all that down, these accidental things would happen that were just magical, that would never happen if you just played your show, stock, from start to finish. and that's what he was reaching for, was those bigger moments, those places where new things happen and spontaneous things happen."

the video under the voice-over is this live clip of them playing "knocking on heavens door" and dylan, in black leather vest and pants, is playing this intro harmonica solo and the band starts to come in and dylan just shoots an arm out behind him and holds it there, flexed, like, "stop, we need a longer harmonica solo here," and they all hold back. felt advanced to me.