Speaking of The Mousetrap, here is a Tom Stoppard anecdote. If you have never seen The Mousetrap and you don’t know whodunit and you don’t want to, don’t carry on reading this paragraph. You have been warned. Tom Stoppard’s play The Real Inspector Hound is a parody of The Mousetrap and those country house type mysteries, and it’s also a parody of theatre critics. And it steals lots of plot elements from The Mousetrap, as the title The Real Inspector Hound suggests, which might have caused the Mousetrap people to object. But! But but but! They couldn’t! Because if they objected publicly, and it got into the newspapers, then even mentioning the title of The Real Inspector Hound would give away the ending to The Mousetrap. To me that is very funny.
I love Tom Stoppard. Why have I not said anything at all in this blog about Tom Stoppard? I love Tom Stoppard. When I was in high school I went through this phase where I didn’t want to read anything but Tom Stoppard plays. (It was a brief phase – my plays phases always are.) Tom Stoppard is a genius. I shall reread some of his plays and review them here soon, so that I can quote him. He writes the Britishest plays I have ever seen, and he is an absolute master of one-liners. If you haven’t read anything by him, you should get on that. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is the obvious place to start; Dogg’s Hamlet and Cahoot’s Macbeth are fun, The Real Thing has an excellent line about Beethoven and entertains me hugely; Indian Ink and Arcadia are associated closely in my mind, and they’re both very good; and The Invention of Love is an extremely sad but still brilliant play about A.E. Housman.
Tom Stoppard. I tell ya what.
I’ve only ever read Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and liked it so much! Ought to try some more of his works.
I would recommend Arcadia, if you’re going to read another one. It’s complex and wonderful – it has people in two different centuries, and stuff all about chaos theory and hermits. I don’t know how appealing that makes it sound, but it really is fantastic. That’s the one I’m thinking of rereading right now.