Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stoppard by now has an impressive body of work.  A rough count of his original plays still available for performance plus his adaptations that have supplanted the originals in performance comes to about 30.   Some of his 1970s plays require large casts and elaborate staging (one calls for a symphony orchestra onstage), and so are done rarely (though ACT in San Francisco did Travesties in 2006. See photo at right. They also did Stoppard's Rock & Roll in 2008.)

But beginning with The Real Thing in 1982,  even his full-lengths--which sometimes received elaborate staging in London or New York--were contained enough and with small enough casts that smaller theatres could do them.  But (except perhaps for The Real Thing), theatres seldom do.  Hereabouts, not even the Oregon Shakespeare Festival does them--one in 1997 (Rough Crossing, an adaptation--it was my first summer here and I was tremendously jealous of people I knew who could afford to go up to see it)  and another adaptation, On the Razzle in 2007, which I happily did see.  So I guess we can expect another in 2017?

I'm not aware of another North Coast production in the past decade.  Not even one of Stoppard's outrageously funny short plays.  The Real Inspector Hound, for example, is perfect for community or college theatre.  I saw it only once, a student production in western Pennsylvania, and I don't know why it isn't done more often. (This is from a production in the Boston area.)

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