Tom Stoppard's THE REAL THING Comes to Gloria Maddox Theatre Feb. 19 - Mar. 29
Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, T. Schreiber Studio will present a production of Tom Stoppard's dazzling romantic comedy The Real Thing at The Gloria Maddox Theater, 151 West 26th Street, 7th Floor from February 19th to March 29th.
Directed by Terry Schreiber, director of the Tony-nominated play K2, as well as The Trip Back Down (starring John Cullum) and Devour the Snow on Broadway, The Real Thing is Stoppard's multi-layered look at love, passion, adultery, and marriage. The full-scale, profession production will feature members of the T. Schreiber Company.
In the play, Stoppard explores the veracity of love by using the device of a play within a play to explore adultery and fidelity between a playwright and his theatrical coterie. The plots centers around the actress, Annie (Meghan Jones) who leaves her husband, Max, (Brian Drillinger) for the playwright, Henry (Jason Tomarken), who is married to an actress Charlotte (Aimee Jolson).
Stoppard's dialogue poses the questions: is true love a commitment, exclusive rights or a bargain struck between two people? The play revolves around what the "real thing" is as it pertains to each character.
Stoppard said: "I wanted to write a play in which the first scene turns out to have been written by one of the characters in the second scene and, consequently, he had to be the playwright, of course. All that seems real, we soon learn, is imagined, the reverse of the latter part of the play: all we imagine turns out to be real." The playwright maintains that we can know the real thing when it happens, just as the audience can recognize at some point in the second scene that the first part was a scene from a play.
When the play was first presented on Broadway in 1984, with Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close in the leads, Stoppard sought to evoke a time when sex, love, and fidelity were being questioned, and he underscored the theme of the complexity of love with the use of pop music. In reviewing the play, Frank Rich wrote: "Not only Mr. Stoppard's most moving play, but also the most bracing play that anyone has written about love and marriage in years."
The Real Thing also explores the politics of the times when Brodie (Ryan Michael Jones) is befriended by Annie after he is arrested and imprisoned for burning a wreath at a war memorial. Annie wants Henry to re-write Brodie's play about his experiences so that she can star in it along with Billy (Harmon Walsh), who she is currently playing opposite in Tis a Pity She's A Whore. Henry scorns re-writing the play and also suspects that Annie is having an affair with the much younger Billy.
As with all of Stoppard's plays, the dialogue is swift and witty, yet simple. Stoppard can be flip as well as ironic and through the volley of words between the characters, they slowly reveal their internal desire to find whatever the real thing is for them. Even Henry and Charlotte's daughter, Debbie (Maura McNamara) talks about sex in the eyes of a seventeen year old when she says "Exclusive rights isn't love, it's colonization."
Stoppard uses references to literary greats while he explores the complexity and mystery of love and the confusing magnetism of sexual desires among the characters. Even Oscar Wilde is evoked when Henry tells Max, who announces that he is marrying again: "To marry one actress is unfortunate, to marry two is simply asking for it."
The creative team for the production includes George Allison (Set Designer), Anne Wingate (Costume Designer), Paul Hackenmueller (Lighting Designer), Chris Rummel (Sound Designer), Page Clements (Vocal Coach), Liz Richards (Stage Manager), Andrew Pape (Technical Director), Geeta Pereira (Assistant Director), Anelisa Durham (Props Manager), and Cat Parker (Producing Director).
The show will be performed from February 19th to March 29th, Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. The suggested donation is $25.00.
In addition to ‘The Real Thing," the T. Schreiber Company will stage Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July from May 7th through June 14th. The Studio has also established an alliance with a Chilean arts group, the CorpArtes Foundation. Schreiber taught acting classes for this organization in Santiago last August. CorpArtes and T. Schreiber Studios hope to share plays in the coming seasons.