Rock ‘n’ Roll

Now playing at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Broadway.

Before this, I’d never seen one of Tom Stoppard’s plays performed, only read them on my own, and to be honest, reading them is easier. Stoppard’s text is so dense, packed with philosophical ideas, debates on determinism and free will, romanticism and classicism, materialism and consciousness, and—always—Truth with a capital T, and it isn’t so overwhelming if you can keep the words in front of you, to reread and parse and ponder at your leisure.

That said, watching the text brought to life is exciting. Seeing the actors helps keep you from bogging yourself down in the concepts and theories and abstracts, for though Stoppard’s plays are intellectually demanding, they can be tender and funny and human, too. His famous debut play, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, wouldn’t be so affecting if it were merely an existential treatise, and his latest, Rock ‘n’ Roll, also expands on its challenging philosophical foundation to tell a vivid, moving story.