Now all four of these men were actually living in Zurich in 1917 but they most likely never actually met. So while Stoppard has created an interesting memory play based on real people, in typical Stoppard fashion Travesties also has an overabundance of references to politics, philosophy, culture and art. While I have enjoyed other Stoppard plays I did think that this was one where there was so much in act one that was unnecessary or that I just didn't seem to connect with. I'm not sure if I'm just not in the core audience for Stoppard, if I'm just too beneath the material or too uneducated to get all of the references he makes. And while you don't have to get all of the references to understand the main plot of the play, the fact that so much of the material went over my head made me and I'm sure many others feel like an uninvited guest at a party. I do believe the version being performed at the McCarter is an edited version from the original but I wish it was edited a little more as the first 30 minutes include many ramblings from the older Carr that didn't do much for me. The second act is much better as that is where Carr's memory starts fading, replaying events differently and when the play connects better as a memory play of someone who may or not really have witnessed the events on display. The second act is also much funnier than the first.
|James Urbaniak, Everett Quinton and Christian Coulson|
If you're looking for an intellectual night out at the theatre that will stretch your brain I'm sure you'll have a good time at Travesties. However if you often get lost in political conversations like I do or if you have no idea what the Dada movement was then I'd stay clear of Princeton for the next week.
Official McCarter Site
Highlights from the production: