[arcadia_group] Re: The game plan- READ

  • From: Thomas Barrows <tbarro1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: arcadia_group@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 4 May 2009 16:43:28 -0400

got it thanks

On Mon, May 4, 2009 at 2:22 PM, William Robinson <
wrobin3@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Hey Tom, here's my slide.
> On Sun, May 3, 2009 at 5:31 PM, Christopher Jones <
> cjones20@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> i am in the same boat.
>> i just had a super busy and shitty weekend that i just need to move past
>> at this point.
>> what time are we meeting again?
>> i am getting off work now, and need to go home and change and stuff.
>> if it's at 6, im going to be a bit late.  i apologize
>> On Sun, May 3, 2009 at 3:37 PM, R NOEMER <kevinnoemer@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> Okay, I might not have my slides at the meeting. I have all of my
>>> information, minus a few exact references from the script that I have to
>>> write out, but I have a very solid amount of information typed up in a Word
>>> document to look at when I put my slides together. But if I don't get my
>>> slides done before the meeting, I can easily finish them afterwards when I
>>> get home and then email them to Tom. I figure so long as we figure out the
>>> order and everything, putting my slides in afterwards is as easy as copy and
>>> pasting. I'll try to get them done, but yeah, this weekend hasn't gone
>>> exactly as I had planned it.
>>> Kevin
>>> ------------------------------
>>> Date: Fri, 1 May 2009 20:30:56 -0400
>>> Subject: [arcadia_group] Re: The game plan- READ
>>> From: tbarro1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> To: arcadia_group@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> hey guys i was thinking bring your slides on a thumbdrive or email it to
>>> yourself and when we get together on sunday we can put them together with
>>> all of us there. T
>>> On Fri, May 1, 2009 at 5:03 PM, R NOEMER <kevinnoemer@xxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:
>>> Hey, sorry guys. I didn't get around to checking my email in the last two
>>> days. I was lucky enough to get mono from God knows where. Hooray! Anyways,
>>> I should have my slides done by Sunday. I've got a couple more articles to
>>> read through, but this is more or less the only work I have, so I'm not
>>> really too stressed about it. Also, Dan you seem to know a good deal about
>>> the math in the play, so if you have any thoughts you'd like to share with
>>> me, that'd be awesome. While I find all the iterations and naturalistic
>>> geometry interesting, math certainly is not my forte. I'll let you guys take
>>> a look at what I've come up with before we present in case anyone with a
>>> better grasp on the concepts has some thoughts.
>>> Kevin
>>> ------------------------------
>>> Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2009 18:48:34 -0400
>>> Subject: [arcadia_group] Re: The game plan- READ
>>> From: dsince1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> To: arcadia_group@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>  All;
>>> Dan here.  Tom and Will - I am attaching a few documents I found most are
>>> either interviews or biographical content, and I am also including the Stage
>>> as Hyperspace paper and another dealing with the music titled Waltzing in
>>> Arcadia.
>>> Also, I have a little more work to do on my presentation slides, but will
>>> get those out soon.
>>> Thanks for meeting today, guys, I think things are going to be fine.
>>> Dan
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>>> ------------------------------
>>> Works Cited
>>> Zoglin, Richard. "Elitist, Moi?." *Time* 170.19 (05 Nov. 2007): 69-71. 
>>> *International
>>> Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text*. EBSCO. [Library name],
>>> [City], [State abbreviation]. 26 Apr. 2009 <
>>> http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy-tu.researchport.umd.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ibh&AN=27257715&site=ehost-live
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>>> ------------------------------
>>> Section: Art THEATER
>>> *Elitist, Moi? *
>>> Tom Stoppard isn't trying to be highbrow. To prove it, his new play is
>>> about rock music … and revolution
>>> When his interviewer arrives, Tom Stoppard is standing outside the
>>> Broadway theater where his latest play, Rock 'n' Roll, is about to begin
>>> previews. Sporting an open white shirt with the sleeves partly rolled up and
>>> tousled (if graying) hair that still gives him the look of an overage
>>> college student, he's enjoying a cigarette in a circle of warm spring
>>> sunshine that has managed to find a hole in the Manhattan skyline. But he
>>> really should be off his feet. A few days earlier, in the rush to catch a
>>> plane to New York City, Stoppard stubbed his toe hard in his London
>>> apartment. He has just come back from the doctor, who told him the toe is
>>> broken and ordered him to stay off it as much as possible--after which,
>>> Stoppard walked 13 blocks to the theater.
>>> The spectacle of Tom Stoppard hoofing it through the theater district on
>>> a bum foot would be disconcerting to people who think of the playwright as
>>> something of an élitist. Ever since his sensational stage debut in 1967 with
>>> Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead--his absurdist riff on a pair of minor
>>> characters in Hamlet--Stoppard has become almost a genre unto himself,
>>> taking intellectual, often abstruse subject matter and turning it into
>>> challenging yet playful drama. His game, frequently, is the oddball
>>> juxtaposition: moral philosophy and gymnastics (Jumpers); Fermat's last
>>> theorem and Byron's love poetry (Arcadia); James Joyce and Vladimir Lenin
>>> (Travesties). "Tom said to me once that he decides on one play, and then
>>> shortly after decides on a different one," says Trevor Nunn, director of
>>> Rock 'n' Roll and several other Stoppard plays. "And then he lets them crash
>>> into each other." The Coast of Utopia, his nearly nine-hour trilogy about
>>> Russia's radical political thinkers of the 19th century, was a relatively
>>> straight-ahead historical journey (which is why this critic, at least,
>>> didn't rank it among his best), but it was an unexpectedly huge hit, playing
>>> to sold-out crowds during its run at New York City's Lincoln Center last
>>> season and winning seven Tony Awards, a record for a straight play. And that
>>> gives him the right to hobble into any Broadway theater with a play on just
>>> about any subject he wants.
>>> With Rock 'n' Roll, which took London by storm last year and opens on
>>> Broadway Nov. 4, Stoppard is exploring two more of his passions, one old and
>>> one relatively new. The play spans a couple of decades in the lives of a
>>> group of Czech political activists and British academics and shuttles back
>>> and forth between Cambridge and Prague in the years between the 1968 Soviet
>>> invasion and the "velvet revolution" of 1989. It's an exploration of
>>> political repression and commitment (with a typically Stoppardian digression
>>> into Sappho's poetry), but also a celebration of the rebel rock music that,
>>> in Stoppard's view, was as potent a force for revolution as Vaclav Havel's
>>> speeches. Scenes are punctuated with the sounds of groups like the Rolling
>>> Stones and the Plastic People of the Universe, a Czech band imprisoned
>>> during the Soviet crackdown--with a special nod to Syd Barrett, a founding
>>> member of Pink Floyd, who was ousted by his band over his erratic,
>>> drug-fueled, near psychotic behavior.
>>> Rock 'n' Roll is the first stage work Stoppard has written explicitly
>>> about Czechoslovakia, where he was born in 1937 but which he left as a baby
>>> when his parents fled the Nazis, moving to Singapore and then India before
>>> landing in Bristol, England.
>>> Until the fall of communism, he returned only once to the country, in
>>> 1977. "I began to have more identity as a Czech comparatively recently," he
>>> says. "To tell you the truth, I think it was my mother dying about 10 years
>>> ago that gave me permission to be Czech. Because my mother's whole attitude
>>> was to leave the past behind. So I tended to kind of just respect her
>>> attitude." A pause. "That's not the whole truth. The fact is, I loved being
>>> English. I was very happy to be turned into an English schoolboy."
>>> Those schoolboy days ended at age 17, when Stoppard went to work for a
>>> newspaper in Bristol. He covered the police beat and routine local news, but
>>> he also got to interview visiting celebrities--New Orleans jazz musicians,
>>> British movie-glamour queen Diana Dors. "I was so thrilled being a
>>> reporter," he says, "because it gave you the kind of access to people that
>>> you wouldn't ever get to meet." After a few years, he moved to London, where
>>> he continued to write reviews and celebrity profiles. In 1960 he talked his
>>> way into a trip to New York with a group of architects visiting the city's
>>> buildings and did a story for the Yorkshire Post on Lenny Bruce, whom he saw
>>> at the Village Vanguard and corralled outside for a 10-minute interview.
>>> Stoppard was taken by the irreverent comic (he even recalls some of his
>>> jokes, like Bruce's plea for world peace, urging all the nations of the
>>> world to get together and "kick the s___ out of the Polacks"). "His act was
>>> very scatological by English standards," he says. "But I was amazed by him."
>>> Stoppard's passion for rock music dates from his days in Bristol, where
>>> he would see most of the touring music acts that came to town--among them
>>> Frank Sinatra (who played the Bristol Hippodrome in the early '50s and
>>> didn't sell out), the Everly Brothers and Eddie Cochran, the rockabilly
>>> singer whose British tour ended when he was killed in a car crash in 1960.
>>> Like everyone else, Stoppard embraced the Beatles and Rolling Stones when
>>> they came along, but he admits to being a late bloomer when it came to Pink
>>> Floyd. "I ignored them completely at first," he says. "When Dark Side of the
>>> Moon came out, a friend of mine, a photographer, came over with the record
>>> and said, 'Please, listen to this. There's a play in this album.' I put it
>>> on top of this big wooden filing cabinet, and it stayed there for a year."
>>> The twice-divorced Stoppard, who turned 70 this year, is a grandfather
>>> now, but he keeps up with groups like Arcade Fire and the Arctic Monkeys. "I
>>> listen to what shows up, really out of curiosity more than anything else,"
>>> he says. "It's not often that something really gets to me." He goes to
>>> concerts only rarely--for the Stones when they tour and an occasional
>>> experiment like Oasis (a "brilliant songwriting band"). "I'm a very boring
>>> person," he insists. He doesn't go to movies, he says (though he writes
>>> plenty of them; see box), and spends most of his spare time reading--most
>>> recently Janet Malcolm's biography of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.
>>> His chief recreational passion is trout fishing, which he does four or five
>>> times a year, usually in Hampshire, England, but with periodic ventures to
>>> more exotic climes like New Mexico and Wyoming.
>>> Stoppard, who rolls his r's with a Continental flourish that somehow
>>> manages not to seem affected, bristles at the notion that his work is too
>>> highbrow or élitist for an ordinary audience--never mind that the New York
>>> Times felt the need to print a reading list for theatergoers who wanted to
>>> bone up before seeing The Coast of Utopia. He notes that his intellectual
>>> obsessions are hardly unique or rarefied. "The market for books about
>>> science and philosophy on the level on which I deal with things is a
>>> best-seller market," he says, pointing to authors like Steven Pinker,
>>> Richard Dawkins and Richard Feynman. It tickles him when he gets good
>>> reviews for his scientific accuracy in specialist publications. Yet he
>>> insists his goal is not to lift the audience's brow but simply to explore
>>> fresh subjects that engage him. "I've got no interest in educating or
>>> instructing people. It's entirely about my getting interested in something
>>> because of its dramatic possibilities. I'm not there to do Op-Ed on
>>> Broadway."
>>> Indeed, Stoppard has always stood apart from many other British
>>> playwrights of his generation, like David Hare, for avoiding an overtly
>>> political (usually left-wing) point of view. He describes his politics as
>>> "timid libertarian." Yet he can rev up a pretty bold rant on Britain's
>>> "highly regulated society," which he thinks is "betraying the principle of
>>> parliamentary democracy." There was the garden party he threw recently, for
>>> example, where because there was a pond on the property, he was required to
>>> hire two lifeguards. "The whole notion that we're all responsible for
>>> ourselves and we don't actually have to have nannies busybodying all around
>>> us, that's all going now. And I don't even know in whose interest it's
>>> supposed to be or who wishes it to be so. It seems to be like a lava flow,
>>> which nobody ordered up. Of course, one does know in whose interest it is.
>>> It's in the interests of battalions of civil servants in jobs that never
>>> existed 10 years ago."
>>> Don't call Tom Stoppard a snob. But try finding a political rant in
>>> America as polished as that.
>>> PHOTO (COLOR): Radical band Brian Cox and Nicole Ansari in Rock 'n' Roll
>>> ~~~~~~~~
>>> By Richard Zoglin
>>>  Script Doctor How Hollywood has used (or not used) Stoppard
>>> Film writing is "exciting and agreeable in the first half of the
>>> process," says Stoppard. "And then you get reminded that it's a movie and
>>> it's not yours."
>>> Screenplays He Wrote SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE "The playhouse is for
>>> dreamers," says the Bard (Joseph Fiennes) to Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) in
>>> Stoppard and Marc Norman's Oscar winner
>>> BRAZIL Stoppard added jokes to Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown's
>>> futuristic sci-fi script, which earned an Oscar nomination and cult status
>>> EMPIRE OF THE SUN Stoppard and Menno Meyjes streamlined J.G. Ballard's
>>> novel for Steven Spielberg and a 12-year-old Christian Bale
>>> Screenplays He Helped Rewrite SLEEPY HOLLOW Director Tim Burton tapped
>>> Stoppard to add humor to the more somber early draft of the Washington
>>> Irving story
>>> STAR WARS: EPISODE III--REVENGE OF THE SITH Stoppard played Jedi master
>>> with the dialogue on George Lucas' last Star Wars film; he did not, however,
>>> tamper with Yoda's syntax
>>> Drafts He Wrote THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM Director Paul Greengrass didn't end
>>> up using Stoppard's take on Matt Damon's taciturn spy
>>> HIS DARK MATERIALS: THE GOLDEN COMPASS His crack at the first film
>>> adaptation of Philip Pullman's fantasy novel was rejected in favor of a
>>> draft by director Chris Weitz
>>>  ------------------------------
>>> Copyright © Time Inc., 2007. All rights reserved. No part of this
>>> material may be duplicated or redisseminated without permission.
>>> Back
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>>> EBSCO Publishing   Citation Format: MLA (Modern Language Assoc.):
>>> *NOTE:* Review the instructions at 
>>> http://support.ebsco.com/help/?int=ehost&lang=en&feature_id=MLA
>>> and make any necessary corrections before using. Pay special attention to
>>> personal names, capitalization, and dates. Always consult your library
>>> resources for the exact formatting and punctuation guidelines.
>>> ------------------------------
>>> Works Cited
>>> Gussow, Mel. "Happiness, chaos and Tom Stoppard." *American Theatre*12.10 
>>> (Dec. 1995): 22.
>>> *International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text*. EBSCO.
>>> [Library name], [City], [State abbreviation]. 26 Apr. 2009 <
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>>> ------------------------------
>>> In Tom Stoppard's radio play, Where Are They Now?, the author's surrogate
>>> looks back nostalgically on his school days, and defines happiness as "a
>>> passing change of emphasis." A dozen years later, the protagonist of The
>>> Real Thing reiterates the statement with his observation, "Happiness is
>>> equilibrium. Shift your weight." For Stoppard, equilibrium had become a
>>> credo, as he repositioned himself to suit the shifts in the world. Call it a
>>> Stop-pardian sense of gravity. The playwright provides his own ballast, as
>>> he tries to remain in the moral center of his own universe. If one needs a
>>> symbol of Stoppard's own inner balance, consider the pronunciation of his
>>> name. It is STOP-PARD, with the syllables evenly accented.
>>> His life and his work are crowded with apparent contradictions. Although
>>> he was born in Zlin, Czechoslovakia (as Tomas Straussler) and spent his
>>> early years in Singapore and India, he has become one of the most English of
>>> Englishmen. He currently lives in both Chelsea, London and Iver, Bucks,
>>> where he is a country squire with an English garden, a lawn for cricket, a
>>> tennis court and his neighbor's cows peeping through the windows of his
>>> house. His idea of Arcadia, of an idyllic environment, is the English
>>> countryside. Yet he spends most of his time in cities, is frequently flying
>>> from one to another, and has a very cosmopolitan nature
>>> Stoppard is one of the wittiest and most literate writers of the English
>>> language, but he left school at an early age and found his education working
>>> on a provincial English newspaper. (Coincidentally, none of England's
>>> pre-eminent living playwrights--Harold Pinter, Alan Ayckbourn and Stoppard
>>> went to university.) Although he has a gift for inventing epigrams,
>>> metaphors and circumlocutions, in his own reading he has great admiration
>>> for the understatement of Ernest Hemingway. Stoppard has no background in
>>> philosophy, philology, physics, metaphysics, mathematics or circus
>>> acrobatics, but his plays are filled with knowledgeable references to these
>>> and other specialized fields. In contrast to Pinter and Ayckbourn, he is
>>> untutored in the techniques of theatre, except for what he learned during
>>> his years as a drama critic and from working with and watching his
>>> directors. Yet his plays have a brilliant theatricality. He is, in fact, an
>>> exemplary autodidact, and a very quick study.
>>> In the plays, things are never quite what they seem to be. There are
>>> plays within plays, and in The Real Thing, a play outside the one we are
>>> watching. The image is that of an endless series of Chinese boxes or an
>>> exercise in recursion. Time plays tricks, as past and present coexist and
>>> sometimes brush against each other on the same stage. In many of his plays,
>>> there are echoes of his previous writings. The subject matter may shift from
>>> moral philosophy to quantum physics, but the voice is that of the author
>>> caught in the act of badinage, arguing himself in and out of a quandary.
>>> Most of his plays are inspired by a single central image (philosophy as
>>> gymnastics, a madman who thinks he has a symphony orchestra in his head).
>>> But, as the plays evolve, they become prisms, reflecting and refracting the
>>> author's ingenuity. Is Stoppard too clever by half, an intellectual rather
>>> than an emotional playwright? He confronts this and related questions during
>>> our conversations.
>>> When I talked to Stoppard in December 1994 in New York, he was on the
>>> brink of a very busy season. Hapgood, in its new version, was opening the
>>> following evening in Lincoln Center Theater's intimate Mitzi Newhouse
>>> Theater in a production starring Stockard Channing. That was to be followed
>>> several months later by Arcadia at Lincoln Center's large Vivian Beaumont
>>> Theater. Arcadia was a continuing success in London, and in February Indian
>>> Ink, his stage version of his radio play, In the Native State, was scheduled
>>> to open in the West End.
>>> Arcadia is one of his most ambitious and satisfying plays, a prismatic
>>> exploration of English history, horticulture, the chaos theory and the
>>> difference between the classical and romantic traditions. In the subtext are
>>> such issues as the pursuit of epiphany and the nature of genius. Along the
>>> way, people keep leaping to the wrong conclusions, which heightens the
>>> hilarity and the complexity. One of the many mysteries is who did what to
>>> whom in the game room or, rather, the game book, where Lord Byron, as a
>>> guest in this elegant country house, is recorded as having shot a hare. At
>>> the center of the play is an historian, Hannah Jarvis, but she is only one
>>> of a houseful of kaleidoscopic characters that emerge from the playwright's
>>> fervid imagination.
>>> In contrast to Arcadia, Hapgood had not been a critical success in its
>>> original production in London (in 1988). Since then, Stoppard had revised
>>> the play and clarified the plot. This devious comedy-mystery equates the
>>> wave-particle theory of light with the doubledealing world of espionage. The
>>> new version is 20 minutes shorter and clues the audience earlier that the
>>> spy named Ridley might have a double. In this Rubik's cube of a play, there
>>> are triple, perhaps even quadruple agents and a multiplidty of secret
>>> identities.
>>> After sudden shifts in his busy schedule, the peripatetic playwright was
>>> in a suite in a New York hotel, prepared for a long conversation. He lit the
>>> first of many cigarettes. His body was reasonably at rest, his mind
>>> restlessly in motion.
>>> MEL GUSSOW: You've said, "If there's a central idea in Hapgood, it is the
>>> proposition that in each of our characters is the working majority of a dual
>>> personality, part of which is always there in a submerged state."
>>> TOM STOPPARD: That was the hypothesis which generated the play
>>> itself--that the dual nature of light: works for people as .well: as things,
>>> and the one you meet in public is simply the working majority of that
>>> person. It's a conceit. It may have some truth to it.
>>> And the dual personality doesn't refer simply to counter-spies, but to
>>> Hapgood herself and others.
>>> It's not really dual personality. It's just that one chooses to "be" one
>>> part of oneself, and not another part of oneself. One has a public self and
>>> a submerged self. It's that sort of duality.
>>> Is one real, the other false?
>>> No, they're both part of the whole person.
>>> And it's something other than multiple personalities.
>>> It's not multiple personalities. It's a complex personality only part of
>>> which runs the show.
>>> Is that true in your life as well?
>>> Well, I wouldn't have the presumption to exempt myself [laughs] from this
>>> general rule.
>>> When you were a journalist, you operated both as a critic and as an
>>> interviewer, and you used different names.
>>> I did, only because it seemed a bit second-rate to write too many things
>>> on the same page. It wasn't that I was trying to conceal half of myself. But
>>> the thesis is really to do with people's temperaments. Their personal
>>> histories, like my personal history, is not central to the idea at all--the
>>> fact that I was born into one language, and grew up in another, and so on.
>>> That doesn't sound irrelevant by any means, but ifs not supposed to be a
>>> comment about that kind of life, about my kind of life.
>>> Do all your plays have an element of autobiography?
>>> I wonder. Perhaps it's something which it's impossible to escape, and one
>>> shouldn't protest against it, though I wouldn't have thought Rosencrantz and
>>> Guildenstern [Are Dead] had anything autobiographical in it. I'm not really
>>> the right kind of writer to oblige such a speculation because the area in
>>> which I feed off myself is really much more to do with thoughts I have had
>>> rather than days I have lived.
>>> A number of misconceptions have sprung up about you and your work, that
>>> your plays are divorced from your own life; also that you're very
>>> intellectual and unemotional. One certainly doesn't feel that in the scene
>>> in which Hapgood is so moved that she cries.
>>> That particular duality has become a bit of a cliche about me. It's
>>> rather a high-tech production of Hapgood, so it does encourage that view of
>>> the work.
>>> But there is a heart there.
>>> I don't think you would bother to write about it if it was about robots.
>>> It's only interesting because they're human beings.
>>> In searching for the arc of your career, I made a list of the principal
>>> subjects in the plays: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, theatre-philosophy; The
>>> Real Inspector Hound, theatre-journalism; Traveslies, lit-phil; Jumpers,
>>> phil-gym; Dirty Linen, pol-sex; Night and Day, journ-pol; Every Good Boy
>>> Deserves Favor, music-pol; Cahoot's Macbeth, theatre-pol; The Real Thing,
>>> theatre-love; Hapgood, sci-spy; Arcadia, lit-math-hortarch; Indian Ink,
>>> lit-art-pol-soc. It seems that the plays are becoming more inclusive or
>>> expansive.
>>> And yet Indian Ink is actually a very intimate play. It's a play of
>>> intimate scenes. There's something working against the notion that the plays
>>> are expanding in them horizons. There is a lot of lit in the plays and a lot
>>> of phil, which I think is a fair comment on what I'm made up of.
>>> A lot of lit and phil and more and more sci and phys.
>>> I've got a funny feeling the sci and phys are a phase, like delinquency,
>>> which one goes through.
>>> It's lasted two plays.
>>> Exactly, it's two plays. Two suggests purpose, misleadingly.
>>> One is singular, two is a coincidence, three is a trend.
>>> In the case of those two plays, they began because I stubbed my toe
>>> against two pieces of information or two areas of science which I found
>>> really interested me. It didn't seem to be a release of some scientist
>>> within me. On the contrary, it seemed to be going against what really
>>> interests me, what I choose to read, and so on. I thought that quantum
>>> mechanics and chaos mathematics suggested themselves as quite interesting
>>> and powerful metaphors for human behavior--not just behavior, but about the
>>> way, in the latter case, in which it suggested a determined life, a life
>>> ruled by determinism, and a life which is subject simply to random causes
>>> and effects. Those two ideas about life were not irreconcilable. Chaos
>>> mathematics is precisely to do with the unpredictability of determinism.
>>> Hifalutin' words, but it's actually a very fascinating door, a view through
>>> a cracked-open door. Pinning myself down to your question: I have no sense
>>> of looking for a third such fascinating scientific metaphor, and I have no
>>> reason to suppose that I'll stub my toe on a third one.
>>> How did you stub your toe against those two?
>>> Casually.
>>> Books in an airport?
>>> I joke like that, but it's not one book on one day. My life is sectioned
>>> off into hot flushes, pursuits of this or that. Rather in the same way as a
>>> year ago or more, a fairly quiescent interest in or sympathy towards Roman
>>> poetry and literature of antiquity suddenly had its turn. I think it turned
>>> into something more obsessive through reading about A. E. Housman, again
>>> somebody whom I had read for years on and off. That was another quiescent
>>> interest.
>>> Do you read Latin?
>>> I can't say I read Latin. I studied Latin up to what we call in England A
>>> level. So it's not gibberish to me. But I read it with cribs. What I enjoy
>>> is reading a particular poem or a poet in numerous translations, to see how
>>> different translators try to find the original. There's a play to be written
>>> about translation, I think.
>>> For your own translations, do you always work from a literal version?
>>> Yes. I've done two Schnitzlers, a Nestroy and a Molnar, and I worked on a
>>> Lorca. It doesn't feel like much over 30 years. Years and years ago, one of
>>> my resolutions--now a failed resolution was to learn a language well enough,
>>> Russian by choice, not simply for purposes of translation but so that I
>>> could read things the way they were meant to be understood.
>>> And what have you done about that?
>>> Nothing. I postponed reading War and Peace until I could read Russian.
>>> The result is now I cannot read Russian and I have not read War and Peace.
>>> Perhaps you need a long sabbatical.
>>> I don't know about these sabbaticals. My ambition is to retire, and has
>>> been for ages. When I say retire I mean just pladdly writing at my own speed
>>> without owing anything to anybody, without anybody waiting for what I'm
>>> writing. I never seem to manage to do that. I think it's a temperamental
>>> defect. That's pretty clear by now.
>>> To return to Arcadia, where did it begin? With James Gleick's book,
>>> Chaos?
>>> I think so. At the same time, I was thinking about Classicism and
>>> Romanticism as opposites in style, taste, temperament, art. I remember
>>> talking to a friend of mine, looking at his bookshelves, saying there's a
>>> play, isn't there, about the way that retrospectively one looks at poetry,
>>> painting, gardening, and speaks of classical periods and the romantic
>>> revolution, and so on. Particularly when one starts dividing people up into
>>> classical temperaments and romantic temperaments--and I suppose it's not
>>> that far from Hapgood in a way. The romantic temperament has a classical
>>> person wildly signalling, and vice versa.
>>> You and I tend to talk about all this as if it really works like that, as
>>> if there's this acorn that you find somewhere and put manure around, and
>>> water, and hope it grows into some kind of sapling, and so on and so forth.
>>> It doesn't seem to me to be that kind of orderly natural development.
>>> No single acorn?
>>> It's more than that. I have the feeling that you throw the acorn away at
>>> some point. You encourage me to talk about a book or a thought which
>>> generates everything that follows. It's true in a limited sense, but an
>>> alternative way of making a picture of the process would be to say that it's
>>> something that starts you up, like a motor gets started up, like a cranking
>>> handle. Then you throw the handle away, and drive off down the road
>>> somewhere and see where the road goes.
>>> What's an acorn that you've discarded?
>>> When it comes to it, I don't think Arcadia says very much about these two
>>> sides of the human personality or temperament. I don't think it's in the
>>> play. It's by no means in the foreground. And yet, it's firing all around
>>> the target, making a pattern around the target.
>>> Where does the texture start? Suddenly horticulture enters, and then Lord
>>> Byron. You didn't set out to write a play about horticulture and Byron?
>>> No, I didn't, but I had read one or two books about Byron over the years,
>>> and I was reading them with a faint sense of undisclosed purpose. [ suppose
>>> if you're my kind of writer you're always working. One's leisure reading is
>>> subconsciously purposeful.
>>> You still write in longhand and then dictate it into a tape recorder?
>>> Yes. I do exactly that with new work, but when I'm rewriting or changing
>>> things, I now prefer to give my secretary lots and lots of pages with
>>> longhand and squiggles, "insert here." I love working on a typescript. I
>>> love the power of the blue pencil. "This is rubbish, take it out. Put this
>>> in. Turn it around."
>>> Is it a canard that you're a conservative?
>>> Would it be one? I always thought of myself as a conservative, not in a
>>> sort of ideological way. I'm really a bit of a failure talking about
>>> politics because I never get into the subject or issues in the manner in
>>> which a responsible citizen really ought to. I respond in some other way
>>> aesthetically even, certainly emotionally. Emotionally I like to conserve. I
>>> don't like impulsive change. But what I like and don't like certainly
>>> doesn't divide up into things that the Conservative Party or the Labor Party
>>> does.
>>> I was very pleased with Mrs. Thatcher at the beginning. I thought of her
>>> as being a subversive influence, which I found very welcome. The
>>> Wilson-Callaghan pre-Thatcher years in English politics I thought were
>>> nauseating. I thought politicians had become people one didn't bother to
>>> listen to because they seemed desperately anxious not to expose their flanks
>>> to any side. There were very few unqualified statements of intent. I loved
>>> the way she came in. I was very personally interested in the whole saga of
>>> print unions, for example, a huge corrupt scandal which government after
>>> government wouldn't tackle.
>>> Which brings us to [Rupert] Murdoch as well. I think he's a very had
>>> influence on English, or indeed global, cultural life. Ten years ago, he was
>>> a sort of hero for me, for sending the printers packing. The printers were
>>> making newspapers into an impossible economic proposition, and I love
>>> newspapers. I was excited when Murdoch came in his Australian underhanded
>>> way with a lot of money behind him and just destroyed them. It was well
>>> overdue.
>>> You've been so strong on human rights. What about human rights for
>>> printers?
>>> I don't think you have a human right to cheat and steal. There were
>>> printers signing on as Mickey Mouse. I just think they pushed their luck.
>>> Murdoch said, it's not a union, it's a protection racket. I think that was
>>> probably quite fair.
>>> But then you turned against Murdoch.
>>> That's part of a shift of feeling about the press as a whole. Night and
>>> Day contains statements which are still flourished. I read one last week by
>>> people who want to leave the press completely untrammelled. I don't know
>>> what I want now. I've arrived at a kind of defensive position, which is not
>>> entirely where I stand intellectually. I've decided that getting cross about
>>> the press is like getting cross about the Flat Earth Society. It's become an
>>> awful joke. What I find upsetting about the notorious end of the British
>>> press is what it says about the readership. I think the tabloid press treat
>>> their readers almost as if they are morons. And it's awful the way the
>>> readers don't seem to mind.
>>> You've said, "Journalism is the last line of defense in this country."
>>> I think that's still true. I think people would be getting away with much
>>> more, were it not for newspapers blowing the whistle, or just being there to
>>> observe.
>>> Could you imagine having stayed in journalism and not being a playwright?
>>> No. Looking at it now, I would think of that as an unhappy outcome, not
>>> because I love the theatre, in quotes, but because it was wonderful to work
>>> for myself and not have to be accountable to somebody. I have a formulation
>>> about the luck we've had, which is that people like myself appear to have
>>> promoted a recreation into a career. We're getting away with it, and it's
>>> the getting away with it part which I don't want to lose. It seems quite
>>> capricious, the way one profession is rewarded over another one. There's an
>>> evolution in every kind of society, particularly now in what we call the
>>> free-market society, where certain pursuits are amazingly over-rewarded.
>>> Being a popular singer, or in a band. There's no logic in it.
>>> For you, having chosen playwriting, it's a kind of super freelance.
>>> You're not beholden to anyone.
>>> No. I'm one of the people who fall into the over-rewarded category, I
>>> suppose. I don't coast on it. I work harder than I used to when I was a
>>> reporter. But it feels different. I do it for myself.
>>> You've talked about writing a play about your growing up in India. Is
>>> Indian Ink the play?
>>> No. I had talked about writing about the ethos of empire, and I suppose
>>> that's a very good example of what we were speaking about earlier: the acorn
>>> hasn't been thrown away. But it's not really just that. It's much more an
>>> intimate play than a polemical play. One kids oneself along that every
>>> little shred of reference to the larger subject resonates through the whole
>>> piece, and enlarges the play. That's just a kind of sweet thought by the
>>> playwright.
>>> Does it surprise you that you've dealt with so many different subjects?
>>> No. I'm a bit of a gadfly. Different things catch my interest for a
>>> while, and I have a hot flush about it, and something else catches my
>>> interest. Of course, a gadfly is not the ultimate compliment.
>>> It borders on the dilettante.
>>> Precisely. What we're leaving out: The cake is upside down. Theatre is a
>>> popular art form, it's part of the world of relief and release, of
>>> entertainment. That's what it's for. The other bit of the cake which is to
>>> do with formulating and promulgating and examining and revealing issues,
>>> life that's a program that can be continued through other means: journalism,
>>> television, essays. There's a case for the view that if you've chosen to
>>> work for the theatre, your fundamental objective is to be part of an art
>>> form that diverts, entertains and instructs rather than that you're engaged
>>> in teaching your fellow citizens certain lessons.
>>> You said that if you wanted to change the world, the last thing you would
>>> do is write a play.
>>> What I really meant was that if there is a local concrete problem which
>>> you want to change, yes. I said that, but I'm not sure that it's entirely
>>> watertight. Maybe the way to continue our conversation about newspapers
>>> would be to write a play.
>>> Is plot still difficult for you?
>>> Can't you tell? [Laughs.] With Arcadia I got lucky. I didn't know it
>>> would work out like that. Like most writers like most people-- if I could
>>> live a slightly different kind of life, it would make an enormous amount of
>>> difference to how much I wrote, and the quality of what I wrote.
>>> Occasionally you get into a period where mentally you're living with this
>>> play, nothing is interrupting you, and all the possibilities the neurons or
>>> nerve ends you're aware of them all and, consciously or subconsciously, you
>>> make the best possible use of them. If you have enough solitude and
>>> concentration, you can make the best of the opportunity. But a lot of the
>>> time I'm writing in a kind of harassed, interrupted way. I came to the
>>> conclusion the other day that the information is being fed in the wrong
>>> order in the second act of Indian Ink. I came back from Hapgood and looked
>>> at it for an hour and a half before I fell asleep. It's all done in the
>>> space of an hour here, an hour there. That's not how to do these things.
>>> You might say from the evidence that you thrive on that process.
>>> Well, no. With Arcadia, I had a really good period of time, where somehow
>>> I could keep it all in view and look further down the road and see where
>>> things were heading, and manipulate the material so I could intersect
>>> properly. The more I got into it, the more I realized that this was going to
>>> work as a piece of storytelling. Hapgood was a kind of struggle from the
>>> word go, and I was still dealing with it at Lincoln Center, trying to
>>> explain, simplify. We started off by referring to it as a melodrama. The way
>>> you label something is very helpful; it gets you out of the corner. Once I
>>> began to think of Hapgood as a melodrama, I felt much more comfortable with
>>> it, because it is melodramatic. It's not satiric about the spy business. It
>>> operates on a heightened, slightly implausible level of life. It's probably
>>> the only play I've written, as far as I can remember offhand, in which
>>> somebody shoots somebody else on stage.
>>> It has to work on that level for the audience to accept it.
>>> It absolutely does. The thing about melodrama is that if the audience
>>> makes the right decision about it, they accept everything. If they make the
>>> wrong decision about it early on, then the drama actually becomes silly.
>>> How would you categorize Arcadia?
>>> Because I was happy with it anyway, I didn't need to label it. I didn't
>>> need to get myself off the hook.
>>> Some people think it's your best play.
>>> I know they do. I think that's what they're talking about: the story
>>> works best.
>>> But you know some of your plays are better than others.
>>> Of course. And in spite of defects I'm aware of and would like to correct
>>> on all of them, I also think that some of them actually are good, better
>>> than good sometimes. I'm now contradicting myself. If I have to talk about
>>> them at all, which I never volunteer to do, I'd rather use a phrase like
>>> "madcap comedy," to dissemble. In a much simpler sense, there's a modest
>>> person hiding a proud person, I suppose. I never thought I would manage to
>>> write a play at all. It was something I wanted to do, but I was astonished
>>> when I managed to do it. Just seemed to be something that would be too
>>> difficult for me to do when I was starting out.
>>> You used to say, and I never entirely believed it, that all your
>>> characters sounded like you.
>>> I used to say it because I used to think it was true, and maybe it was
>>> true in those days. i think everybody in Night and Day, sounds like me, for
>>> example. It's less true now. This was literally true of Night and Day in one
>>> isolated case: I took a speech away from one character and gave it to
>>> another, and it made no difference. I just needed somebody to say something
>>> at that point. In that sense, they were all speaking with my voice. In a
>>> limited way, you might say that they were interchangeable. So I meant it
>>> when I said it, but I wouldn't say it nowadays.
>>> It's not true of Arcadia, and it's not true of Indian Ink.
>>> No, it's not.
>>> Years ago, at the time of The Real Thing, Mike Nichols said you were one
>>> of the few happy people he knew. When I mentioned that to you, you were
>>> offended by the word happy, you said that you were as unhappy as the next
>>> man.
>>> Boasting about my unhappiness!
>>> Are you a happy man?
>>> Yes. I'm just looking at the word happy for a moment. Mike was always
>>> tremendously pleased by the definition of happiness in that play. "Happiness
>>> is equilibrium. Shift your weight." Attaining your happiness, if you're
>>> talking about me, is learning that lesson. You try not to stand in the way
>>> of the onrushing train, to change the metaphor. But in fact I suppose what
>>> you're remembering is that happiness seems to imply a turning away from
>>> whatever might compromise your happiness. One is exposed naked in the winds
>>> of the world, and everybody around you has got problems. Some are acute,
>>> some are less serious than others. You live in the little world of your
>>> family and the larger world of your colleagues and the huge world of
>>> newspaper and television news. So happiness is not really a very adequate
>>> word. When I said I felt blessed by good fortune, that's generally the
>>> truth. Clearly your life and everyone's life is full of things that make you
>>> unhappy from time to time. You just deal with them.
>>> That reminds me again of the boy in your play, Where Are They Now?
>>> That indeed is the play where that character says happiness is a passing
>>> shift of emphasis. I do have an idyllic vision of life. Whether one has a
>>> right to live it is another matter. It's to do with self-reliance. It's
>>> cultivating your garden without being pulled, without having one's sleeve
>>> tugged by what's happening outside the wall.
>>> PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): Tom Stoppard
>>> PHOTOS (BLACK & WHITE): Classical or romantic? You be the judge in
>>> Stoppard's Arcadia, seen here in two productions directed by Trevor Nunn. At
>>> right, Felicity Kendal and Samuel West appeared at Britain's National
>>> Theatre. Below, Billy Crudup and Jennifer Dundas at New York's Lincoln
>>> Center Theater.
>>> PHOTOS (BLACK & WHITE): "Hapgood is not satiric about the spy businesszz
>>> It operates on a heightened, slightly implausible level of life." Above, Jo
>>> Ann Carney, Dan LaMorte and Gus Bustinice, left to right, in a production
>>> directed by Mary Zimmerman at Chicago's Center Theatre Ensemble. Below,
>>> David Lansbury and Stockard Channing in Jack O'Brien's Lincoln Center
>>> Theater staging.
>>> PHOTOS (BLACK & WHITE): "I'm a bit of a gadfly." Above, a scene from
>>> Rosencranz and Gaildenstern Are Dead, in a production at the New Jersey
>>> Shakespeare Festival; which featured, from left, Davis Hall, Bub Ari, Eric
>>> Tavaris, Eduardo Patino and John Nichols. Above right, Michael Gross and
>>> Linda Purl in The Real Thing at the Doolittle Theatre in Hollywood. Below
>>> right, lsiah Whitlock Jr. and DeAnn Meats in Night and Day at San
>>> Francisco's American Conservatory Theater.
>>> ~~~~~~~~
>>> Mel Gussow, who writes about theatre for the New York Times, is the
>>> author of Conversations with Pinter and Conversations with Stoppard (both
>>> Limelight Editions). This article is excerpted by permission from the
>>> latter, which was published last month.
>>>  ------------------------------
>>> Copyright of American Theatre is the property of Theatre Communications
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>>> Back
>>>  ------------------------------
>>> Windows Live™ Hotmail®:…more than just e-mail. Check it 
>>> out.<http://windowslive.com/online/hotmail?ocid=TXT_TAGLM_WL_HM_more_042009>
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>>> Hotmail® has ever-growing storage! Don’t worry about storage limits. Check
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>>  --
>> Christopher W. Jones
>> Towson University '09
>> Dartmouth College '08

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