* Notes *
Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll opened the 2008-2009 season at ACT last month and closes tomorrow. The play includes the years between the Prague Spring (1968) and the Velvet Revolution (1989), with a distinct focus on Syd Barrett, The Plastic People of the Universe, and Václav Havel.
The production, directed by Carey Perloff, included Douglas W. Schmidt's attractive set, which worked nicely for the many scene changes. The use of projections was ham-fisted, one did not need the year of a particular scene all over the walls, and certainly have them all spinning around was gratuitous.
The actors were fine, though René Augesen as Eleanor and Older Esme was most impressive. Perhaps this was simply because she was playing two very different characters and her range was evident.
The play itself was quite interesting if one has an interest in Czechoslovakia, or has some sense of that history. One imagines it might have been somewhat dull otherwise, as the dialogue is not as funny as one might expect from Stoppard. Music was used to good effect during the various scenes as well as in between segments.
* Tattling *
The audience was quiet and attentive, though there was one person who was turning off her cellular phone after the play had started. Naturally, she had not set her keypad to silent, so there were quite a few electronic beeps.
I had no idea what this play was about The Plastic People of the Universe, and was probably overly excited to find out that this was the case. Despite this, when the main character Jan tells his friend Ferdinand that The Plastics were more important than Havel, I was entirely shocked!