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Muskehound RedCoatCat

The Hard Problem

On Saturday night I saw The Hard Problem, a new play by Tom Stoppard, at the National - an event to which I'd been looking forward since tkb spread the word to his theatre-loving friends late last year.

Stoppard's plays are deep and dense, asking serious questions about mathematics and philosophy and weaving an intricate tapestry of plot and characters, but they're also terribly funny with brilliant dialogue and plenty of one-line zingers. The play opens on a single bed and a desk, with a student and her young tutor enjoying a pretentious argument about the Prisoner's Dilemma, then follows the student - Hilary - through her subsequent career and relationships, all the time debating Mind versus Brain, whether anything is really a coincidence, and the existence of God. An hour and three quarters with no interval shot by, and although the tickets were costly I felt I'd more than got my money's worth.

I did have to ask Terry afterwards what a 'quant' was, though. (Quantitative analyst; the first time the term was used I thought it was some obscure insult relating to Mary Quant.)


I very much enoyed it too, though I think it was a little more than the Satyurday matinee audience was expecting...

It goes out live to cinemas on April 16th if you want to drag other people to it...
Ooh, I will check and see where it's showing! Thanks.
Stoppard is so fantastic. Even when I have no idea what he/his characters are going on about.
He's very good at characters who are loveable even when they're being rotten to each other, too!