Rock ’n’ Roll is an electrifying collision of the romantic and the revolutionary. It is 1968 and the world is ablaze with rebellion, accompanied by a sound track of the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Clutching his prized collection of rock albums, Jan, a Cambridge graduate student, returns to his homeland of Czechoslovakia just as Soviet tanks roll into Prague. When security forces tighten their grip on artistic expression, Jan is inexorably drawn toward a dangerous act of dissent. Back in England, Jan’s volcanic mentor, Max, faces a war of his own as his free-spirited daughter and his cancer-stricken wife attempt to break through his walls of academic and emotional obstinacy. Over the next twenty years of love, espionage, chance, and loss, the extraordinary lives of Jan and Max spin and intersect until an unexpected reunion forces them to see what is truly worth the fight.
|Product dimensions:||8.04(w) x 5.42(h) x 0.38(d)|
About the Author
Tom Stoppard was born in Czechoslovakia in 1937 and moved to England with his family in 1946. Catapulted into the front ranks of modern playwrights overnight when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead opened in London in 1967, he has become recognized as a contemporary comic master, the brilliantly acclaimed author of The Real Inspector Hound, Enter a Free Man, Albert's Bridge, After Magritte, Travesties, Dirty Linen, Jumpers, New-Found-Land, Night and Day, The Real Thing, Hapgood, Artist Descending a Staircase, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, Arcadia, The Invention of Love, The Coast of Utopia (Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage), and Rock 'n' Roll. He has also written a number of screenplays, including The Romantic Englishwoman, Despair, and Brazil.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Stoppard but not as good as many of his other plays. This play is based on historical events. (Remember that Tom Stoppard was born in Czechoslovakia.)
This is a surprisingly powerful play, with an emotional climax that I had not expected from Stoppard's earlier work. It begins as a forceful debate on the history and future of socialism, ground which Stoppard has tilled before. But then it blindsides us with a gradually but strongly developed subtext that the spirit of Pan (here personified by rock musicians, particularly Syd Barrett) is a truer agent of change than even intellectuals -- Stoppard himself -- might devise.This edition has an 11-page introductory essay by Stoppard which you might find helpful, as the characters are caught up in historical events with which you may not be familiar.
Being a fan of Stoppard's work, I am likely an impartial judge, however, if you are looking for a play that combines Soviet history and classic rock into a tragicomic form, you ought to consider the virtues of Rock n' Roll. The play is primarily concerned with dissent against the Communist Party both in Czechoslovakia and England as it proceeds from the Prague Spring in 1968 and the Velvet Revolution in 1989. The work is secondly an homage to classical literature, Pink Floyd, and Václav Havel. Perhaps the greatest merit of the piece is it's dual nature, mirroring Stoppard's own understanding as a Czech-born British playwright, for Rock n' Roll is told both from the view of Western Marxists and that of democratic Czechs, miring the story in a sense of truthful chaos that could not be depicted so accurately otherwise. So imbedded in history and the writer's own tradition, Rock n' Roll can easily slip from being clearly linear into a maze of allusions and half-references. However, even amidst the minutia of historical detail, the true plot line emerges as a conflict between two forms of idealism and the effect of the generation gap upon what truly should be done to usher in a new form of government. The Cambridge household of Marxist professor Max and his wife Eleanor is the beacon of English tradition- standing mostly as a testament to the past, to the old world standard. Prague is constantly changing, communist, democratic, and oppressive. Indeed, the history may get in the way for those unfamiliar with Syd Barret, Charter 77, the Prague Spring, The Plastic People of the Universe, and the Velvet Revolution, but the marriage of rock and Sapphic poetry in order to illustrate the illusive nature of time and the recurrence of social themes can be grasped by any. Certainly, the use of google and wikipedia to recall terms that haven't been heard in years, to recapture details, and perhaps learn new ones may put off the less technologically savvy, but then, what work is great if we understand it the first time we see or read it? Things will always escape us the first time around, so it is best to read Rock n' Roll at least twice - once for the true plot, the other for the social commentary. Understanding will come from the combination of both.