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The Real Thing

The Real Thing
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Tom Stoppard
Publisher: Samuel French (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 130
Pub. Date: 1984
ISBN-10: 057361458X
ISBN-13: 9780573614583
Cast Size: 3 female, 4 male

About the Play:

The Real Thing has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Male Monologues and Female/Male Scenes.

The Real Thing is a full-length comedy by Tom Stoppard. This smart and deliciously funny backstage comedy examines the concepts of love, marriage, art, and fidelity; while exploring the theme of reality versus appearance. Playwright Henry and actress Annie fall in love while cheating on their spouses, then marry and cheat on each other, unable to let his intense intellect and her intense emotions keep them from appreciating their love.

The Real Thing is an intellectually and emotionally engaging backstage comedy that portrays an articulate and romantically idealistic playwright whose second wife is trying to merge worthy causes with her art as an actress. She has met a "political prisoner" named Brodie who has been jailed for radical thuggery, and who has written an inept play about how property is theft, how the state stifles the rights of the individual, etc., etc., etc. Henry's wife wants him to make the play work theatrically, which he does after much soul searching. Eventually, though, he is able to convince his wife that Brodie is emphatically not a victim of political repression; he is, in fact, a thug. And while this hilariously transpires, Henry's concepts of love, marriage and fidelity are tested as surely as his writing skills. This two time Tony Award winner is a timeless comedy about an all-too-witty playwright who succumbs to the emotional ravages he puts his characters through.

The Real Thing premiered in 1982 at The Strand Theatre (now the Novello Theatre) in London, and opened on Broadway in 1984. The great Mike Nichols directed Jeremy Irons who triumphed in the original Broadway production of The Real Thing, which won the 1984 Tony Award for Best Play. The play also won the 2000 Tony Award for Best Revival. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 3 female, 4 male

What people say:

"So packed with wit, ideas and feelings… Stoppard's most moving play and the most bracing play anyone has written about love and marriage in years." — New York Times

"Shimmering, dazzling theatre, a play of uncommon wit and intelligence which not only thoroughly delights but challenges and illuminates our lives." — WCBS TV

"In The Real Thing he [Stoppard] combines some fly Pirandellian games with an unequivocal statement about the joyousness of shared passion. And the result is the rare thing in the West End (or anywhere else for that matter): an intelligent play about love." — Guardian

"He has retained his humour, increased his complexity, and deepened his art." — New Statesman

"The nice thing about 'The Real Thing' is that Stoppard's penchant for trickery doesn't register as mere virtuosity but is integral to his probing exploration of betrayal and trust among married couples." — Time

About the Author:

Sir Tom Stoppard (born Tomás Straüssler) is a Czech-born British playwright and screenwriter. His family had to flee to Singapore at the onset of the Nazi invasion. The family moved to England in 1946, where he left school at the age of seventeen to work for The Western Daily Press, in Bristol. He was catapulted into the front ranks of modern playwrights overnight when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead opened in London in 1967, for which he was awarded a Tony, the Prix Italia, the New York Critic's Award, and Plays and Players Award for Best New Play. He has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, and in 1998 shared a best original screenplay Oscar for Shakespeare in Love. He was knighted in 1997.

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