Talk and Talk and Talk About a Revolution

Talk and Talk and Talk About a Revolution

Shotgun Players is taking on The Coast of Utopia,Tom Stoppard’s mammoth trilogy about the budding Russian intellectual life of the mid-19th century, planting seeds for the revolution that will come much later. Having done chapter one, Voyage, last year, Shotgun now presents part two, Shipwreck, in repertory with a limited revival of Voyage. My review‘s up on KQED Arts for the intrepid explorer.

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Oh That Norman

Oh That Norman

The Norman Conquests isn’t your standard trilogy. The plays in Alan Ayckbourn’s comedic 1973 triptych don’t happen one after another but all at more or less the same time with the same characters in different areas of the same house: Round and Round the Garden in the garden, Table Manners in the dining room, and Living Together in the living room. Ackbourn crafted them in a rotating fashion, writing the first scene of the first play, then the first scene of the second play, then the first scene of the third, before proceeding to the second scene of the first play, and round and round between the three plays until they were all finished.  That’s more or less how the action plays out, too.  Some events in any two plays are clearly happening simultaneously, while other scenes fill in the gaps of time the other plays skip over. The idea is that you can see them in any order, and that’s more or less true.  (I wouldn’t recommend starting off with Living Together, but more on that later.)

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