We missed seeing a couple of plays last week but we did catch ACT’s revival of Tom Stoppard’s “Travesties”. What a major disappointment. I last saw the play when ACT first did it in 1977 when I was a freshman in college. It piqued my interest in theatre and all things having to do with Tom Stoppard, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Valadimir Lenin and Tristan Tzara. I was enthralled with it.
I learned three things . . .during the war. . .Firstly, you're either a revolutionary or you're not, and if you're not you might as well be an artist as anything else. Secondly, if you can't be an artist, you might as well be a revolutionary. I forget the third thing.
-- Henry Carr the leading character in Travesties
Unfortunately, this production is a snooze-fest. Visually it is beautiful. The sets are wonderfully surreal and the costumes and lighting are good. But the pacing is so slow. Each actor’s lines are surrounded by extended periods of silence. Stoppard is a writer of many words. He does not need “blank space” on stage to set them off. His words need to snap, crackle and pop on the stage. I left the production reminded of a quote from another Stoppard play:
Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?
--Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1967)