Theater archives

Stoppard Goes Electric


No stranger to success, Tom Stoppard is nonetheless enjoying a banner period in New York. So Boomerang Theatre Company has smartly timed this sampler of ’60s Stoppard teleplays. They’ve also managed the scripts’ transition to stage performance gracefully, with consistently crisp and witty performances. The pieces—Teeth, Another Moon Called Earth, and A Separate Peace—reveal in embryonic form the dazzling talents and blind spots that Stoppard continues to manifest today. The sheer dramatic craft of this writer still in his twenties, for instance, remains remarkable. The use of overlapping dialogue in Teeth alone could serve as a seminar for aspiring playwrights. Another Moon most notably reflects the intellectual concerns which have long been a Stoppard hallmark, juxtaposing discussions of fate and chance with a game of Battleship. At the same time, these one-acts remain pure situation comedies: a dentist toys with a philandering patient, a man takes a vacation in a hospital. Unlike his hero Beckett, Stoppard subordinates his characters to the mechanics of plot. On the basis of these pieces, he could be the world’s smartest sketch-comedy writer.