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The Real Thing (2003)

 

Sydney Theatre Company

Playwright: Tom Stoppard
Director: Robyn Nevin

October 2003 @ Wharf 1


Hugo Weaving … Henry
Angie Milliken … Annie
Heather Mitchell … Charlotte
Andrew Tighe … Max
Alexander Jenkins … Billy
Jaime Mears … Debbie
Joshua Rosenthal … Brodie


The Real Thing is a play by Tom Stoppard, first performed in 1982. It examines the nature of love, and makes extensive use of ‘play within a play’, also known as a metaplay.

The play focuses on the relationship between Henry (a playwright and considered stand-in for Stoppard) and Annie, an actress who is part of a committee to free Brodie, a Scottish soldier imprisoned for burning a memorial wreath during a protest.


“I feel reckless, extravagant, famous, in love, and I’m next week’s castaway on Desert Island Discs”

“I’m supposed to be one of your intellectual playwrights. I’m going to look a total prick, aren’t I, announcing that while I was telling Jean-Paul Sartre and the post-war French existentialists where they had got it wrong, I was spending the whole time listening to the Crystals singing ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’.”

“Actors are so sensitive. They feel neglected if one isn’t constantly checking up on them”

“I told her once that lots of women were only good for fetching drinks, and she became quite unreasonable”
Blithely, knowing what he is doing, holding his empty glass towards Charlotte.
“Is there any more of that?”

In response to the vegetables Annie has brought over instead of flowers .
“So original. I’ll get a vase”
Annie: “It’s supposed to be crudités”
Henry: “Crudités! Perfect title for a pornographic revue”

On managing sex with a sleeping Annie: “You were totally zonked. Only your reflexes were working…I thought I’d try it without you talking”

“I don’t know how to write love. I try to write it properly, and it just comes out embarrassing. It’s either childish or it’s rude. And the rude bits are absolutely juvenile.”

“I love love. I love having a lover and being one. The insularity of passion. I love it. I love the way it blurs the distinction between everyone who isn’t one’s lover. Only two kinds of presence in the world. There’s you and there’s them. I love you so”

“It’s classy stuff, Webster. I love all that Jacobean sex and violence”

Knocking some literary sense into Annie: “There’s something scary about stupidity made coherent. I can deal with idiots, and I can deal with sensible argument but I don’t know how to deal with you. Where’s my cricket bat?”

“I don’t think writers are sacred but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little or make a poem which children will speak for you when you’re dead”

“It’s no trick loving somebody at their best. Love is loving them at their worst. Is that romantic? Well, good. Everything should be romantic. Love, work, music, literature, virginity, loss of virginity…”

“You can’t put things back. They won’t go back. Talk to me. I’m your chap. I know about this. We start off like one of those caterpillars designed for a particular leaf. The exclusive voracity of love. And then not.”