The Real Thing
by Tom Stoppard
In Fall 2003, LOOKOUT! Players had the distinction of presenting a lesser-known gem by Tom Stoppard entitled The Real Thing. The play is semi-autobiographical, following a group of London thespians and most notably a popular playwright through the trials of love and infidelity.
This production was directed by James Ofsink and featured the talents of David Leisk as Henry, Lauren Thomas as Annie, Evan Johnson as Max, Mari Carson as Charlotte, Nathan Livni as Billy, Amineh Helalian as Debbie, and Nick Heacock as Brodie (you can see the Bios from The Real Thing here).
The action opens on a play within a play. Charlotte and Max are acting in "House of Cards" a play by Henry. In this first scene it seems as though Charlotte and Max are having a troubled marriage, but really soon in scene two we discover that it was all an act. In reality, Charlotte and Henry are married and have a daughter (Debbie). When Max and his wife Annie stop by to say hello, the audience finds out that unbeknownst to their spouses, Annie and Henry are having an affair. And thus sets the premise from which Stoppard's amazing intellect and tender use of language springboard.
The play follows Henry and Annie as they struggle in their own relationship for something that is fundamentally different and more meaningful than their previous experiences. Stoppard deals with the difficulty of relating to even those we hold most dear, and the weakness that we each admit into our lives when we open ourselves to caring for someone else. In this work especially, Stoppard's gift for engaging dialogue is tempered with a barrage of poignant monologues that allow us to truly enter the mind of a playwright divided between his ideal love and his love of the ideal. In some way each character in The Real Thing searches for the genuine in their own life. How are we to know whether we've ever attained 'the real thing' or not?
The LOOKOUT! Players production of this show was well received in the Sacramento community and helped to further establish LOOKOUT! as a serious community theatre. Congratulations to everyone involved!