Preview of a Canadian Premiere Play @ Jericho Arts Centre (West Point Grey)

  • Apr 2, 2009 · 7:45 PM
  • Jericho Arts Centre

Will re-post on new date once it's decided and send out a message to all members. Sorry for any inconvenience. **Tickets at Jericho Arts Centre are Festival Seating - buy your own ticket and we will meet to sit together!**

Director: C.W. Marshall

April 3 to April 26, 2009
Preview: April 2 ($6.00) Tom Stoppard’s play delivers a powerful, intricate meditation on life, scholarship and the after-life in this brilliant play which has writer A.E. Housman (A Shropshire Lad) adrift on the River Styx, where he meets his younger Oxford University self, and reflects on a life lived in the shadow of Oscar Wilde. The often erudite dialogue dazzles with wit and humour.

******************* Director, Toph Marshall on this Canadian Première:

Director Toph Marshall simply loves Tom Stoppard and when he learned that Andree Karas had scheduled The Invention of Love, he immediately asked to direct it. “Stoppard is so good at building the emotional experience with his words,” Toph comments. “Whether it is the world of physics, philosophy, gardening or Shakespeare, Stoppard always draws us in and makes us feel like we belong. He also makes us feel much smarter than we are.”

The Invention of Love is a witty and humorous play. It takes us inside the thoughts and feelings of Victorian poet (A Shropshire Lad) and classical scholar, A.E. Housman, as he reflects on his life and on his frustrated love for his friend Moses Jackson – the handsome athlete who could not return his feelings. The play takes place in a dream-like space between life and death where Housman questions the path his life has taken. Stoppard invents not one but two Housman figures – the elder Housman, the scholar, looks at young Housman, the poet, and wonders how one turned into the other. We also meet an eclectic mix of individuals from the era, both familiar and unfamiliar, and through their juxtaposition, Housman considers the possibilities of where his life might have gone.

One key character who is in the background throughout Housman’s dream journey is Oscar Wilde. Although Wilde and Housman didn’t know each other, they were both at Oxford at the same time and they both wrote poetry. Their lives, however, took quite different trajectories and Stoppard shows us that identity is built on the choices we make. Whereas Wilde was imprisoned for “the love that dare not speak its name,” Housman agonizes in the play because he lacks words for his feelings for Jackson. For someone so concerned with words, this limits his expression and prevents him from acting on his feelings. At a time when High Victorian morality is under siege, Stoppard asks us, what are the right words to express ourselves when the words haven’t been invented yet?

Director Toph Marshall is clear that the “brainy” The Invention of Love is not an intellectual play: “At its core it is about real passions and real doubts and how we express them – or fail to do so. It shows us that even a Latin textual critic such as Housman feels, hesitates, yearns and stumbles the same way as we do.”

“Stoppard is so good at building the emotional experience with his words,” Toph comments. “This play will resonate for anybody who has ever found love, struggled with their feelings, and not had the words to express themselves.”


At the Jericho Arts Centre - 1675 Discovery

Preview: Thursday April 2 - tickets $6.

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