Travesties  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
fictional meeting, faction

Travesties is a comedic play by Tom Stoppard, first produced at the Aldwych Theatre, London, on June 10, 1974, in a production by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The play was directed by Peter Wood and designed by Carl Toms, with lighting by Robert Ornbo. It closed March 13 1976 after 156 performances at the Aldwych then the Albery Theatres in London and the Ethel Barrymore Theater, New York, USA.

An important revival with revised text, greatly shortening Cecily's Act II lecture on Lenin, was given by the Royal Shakespeare Company at its theatre in the Barbican Arts Centre in September 1993, directed by Adrian Noble. The production transferred to the Savoy Theatre in March 1994 and ran there until June 1994.

Contents

Plot synopsis

The play's setting is primarily Zürich, Switzerland during World War I. Three important 20th-century personalities were living in Zürich at that time: the modernist author James Joyce, the communist revolutionary Lenin, and the Dadaist founder Tristan Tzara. The less notable English consular official Henry Carr, who is likewise a real person and was similarly in Zürich, years later recalls his perceptions and his experiences with these influential figures. As he reminisces, Carr's now geriatric memory becomes prone to distraction, and instead of predictable historical biography, these characters are interpreted through the maze of his mind.

Carr's memories are couched in a Zürich production of Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest in which he had a starring role. Stoppard uses this production and Carr's mixed feelings surrounding it as a framework to explore art, the war and revolution. Situations from Earnest feature prominently within the action. Travesties' characters also includes versions of two of Earnest's: Gwendolen and Cecily and the comedic situations of many of the other roles are shared by other characters.

Stoppard uses many clever theatrical devices within the play, including puns, limericks, and an extended parody of the vaudeville song "Mister Gallagher and Mister Shean."

Historically, the real Carr did play Algernon with a group of actors called "The English Players", for whom the real James Joyce was the business manager. (Carr and Joyce had an angry disagreement after the play, which led to legal action and accusations of slander by Joyce. The dispute was settled, with the judge deciding in favor of both disputants on different counts. Joyce would go on to parody Carr and the English Consul General in Zürich at that time, A. Percy Bennett, as two minor characters in Ulysses, with Carr portrayed as a drunken, obscene soldier in the "Circe" episode.)

On the first performance of Travesties, Stoppard received a letter from the real Henry Carr's widow, expressing her surprise that her late husband had found himself imagined as a character in Stoppard's play.

Productions

A revival was launched with revised text, greatly shortening Cecily's Act II lecture on Lenin, was given by the Royal Shakespeare Company at its theatre in the Barbican Arts Centre in September 1993, directed by Adrian Noble. The production transferred to the Savoy Theatre in March 1994 and ran there until June 1994. A reading was given at the British Library in February 2008, featuring John Hurt.

Original cast

Cast changes

1993 cast

Awards and nominations

Awards




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Travesties" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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