Rock ’n’ Roll sifts through the failed embers of history and kindles a glorious blaze


Between the lines of intellectual jargon, Tom Stoppard’s play is about the loss of innocence.

On its surface, Tom Stoppard’s magisterial play is a jargon-heavy requiem
for the Eastern bloc, oscillating scene by scene between the high-table
gossip of a Cambridge Marxist academic named Max (H.B. Ward) and the
tumultuous ordeal under communism of his hippie transfer student Jan
(Julian Hester). Close to three decades in the saga of Czechoslovakia’s
tug-of-war between the Kremlin and commercial capitalist hegemony play out
at the grittiest level of detail: in Prague, Jan and his friends debate the
viability of President Gustáv Husák’s normalization policies, while Max and
others, in a dozen extremely dense English rows, weigh in on subjects
ranging from physicalism versus innatism to Sappho’s papyri in the
Ashmolean.…

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