The Real Thing

Definition

Theater

  • A comedy by Tom Stoppard, which became an instant success when first performed at the Strand Theatre, London, in 1982in a production starring Felicity Kendal, Tom Conti, and Roger Rees.The 1984 Broadway production won the Tony Award for Best Play.

    The plot centres on Henry, a witty but cynical playwright, andhis marriages to first Charlotte and then Annie, both of whom are actresses.Scenes from Henry's plays are intermingled with episodes from his domesticlife, leaving the audience confused as to what is 'real' and what is fiction. In a subplot Stoppard examines the relationship between art and political engagement in the figure of Brodie, a boorish peaceprotestor who aspires to be a writer but is shown to be talentless. Eventually Annie embarks on an affair with a young actor, but insists on maintaining her marriage with Henry because their love is after all 'the real thing'.

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