Rock 'n' Roll
ROCK AND ROLL
By Tom Stoppard
Directed by Robert Estes
April 12 to May 4, 2013
ROCK 'N' ROLL concerns the travails of Jan, a PhD student from Czechoslovakia studying in London under his unrepentantly Marxist professor, Max. Jan is infatuated with the music of the late 1960's, and the freedom and creativity it embodies.
In contrast, Max is dedicated to Communist ideals, and believes rock 'n' roll is just another opiate for the masses. As the events of the 1968 Prague Spring unfold, Jan finds himself irrevocably drawn back to his home country, ultimately to become a key element of the resistance, which finally flowered in the Velvet Revolution of 1989.
Jan, Max, and the menagerie which has developed around both all gather once more to review the changes in their lives over the previous 20+ years. An intensely personal work for Stoppard ("Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead", "The Real Thing", "Arcadia") , born in Czechoslovakia only to emigrate to England as a child (but in his case not to return as Jan did), it is at the same time a multi-layered concoction deftly interweaving philosphical discussion, history, and the evolution of relationships, a work that fully earns the label "Stoppardian".
Directed by Robert Estes, last seen at AE directing our hit production of Stoppard's "Arcadia", ROCK 'N' ROLL features a stellar cast of familiar faces - Avi Jacobson as Max ("Noises Off"), Thomas Arndt as Ferdinand ("Curse of the Starving Class"), and Lisa Wang as Lenka ("Passion Play") all make a welcome return to the Live Oak Stage. ROCK 'N' ROLL also introduces Fred Webre as Jan, Monica Cortes Viharo as Eleanor/Esme, Emmy Pierce as Esme/Alice, and Joel Jacobs as Milan.
Playing at Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck (at Berryman) in north Berkeley, just down the street from Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto.
Opens April 12th and runs Fri-Saturday at 8 p.m. until May 4th. Special Sunday matinees April 21st and 28th at 2 p.m.
Tickets and directions at our website, www.aeofberkeley.org. Cash or check only at the door - reservations may be made by calling 510-649-5999.
The play is concerned with the significance of rock and roll in the emergence of the socialist movement in Eastern Bloc Czechoslovakia between the Prague Spring of 1968 and the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Taking place in Cambridge, England and in Prague, the play contrasts the attitudes of a young Czech Ph.D student and rock music fan who becomes appalled by the repressive regime in his home country with those of his British Marxist professor who unrepentantly continues to believe in the Soviet ideal.