British dramatist and scenarist
Born in the town of Zlin, Czech Republic, on July 3, 1937. In young age along with his parents moved to England. Worked as a reporter, wrote scenarios of radio- and TV plays, while in 1966 he unexpectedly woke up famous – in that year they staged his play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead” – paraphrase of the Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, in the epicenter of which are Hamlet’s unlucky friends, “young people” of the XXth century. Ever since then Tom Stoppard was one of the leading British dramaturges.
The mystery of human personality, its twofold nature, unsteadiness are all typical motives behind all Stoppard’s plays (“Real inspector Haund” (1968), “After Magrit” (1971). For Stoppard it is also normal to combine incompatible things: plays “Jumpers” (1972), where the author brings together philosophers and acrobats; “Parodies” (1975), the main events of which are unfolding in Zurich during the 1st World War and which shows altogether Lenin, Joyce and Tristan Tsara. These and the following plays prove Stoppard to be an outstanding master of theatrical paradox, continuing the traditions of the English farce. However, in all of them behind the comedian look there are hidden serious and quite sober ideas – in particular, about art itself and the mission of artist. These thoughts were defined by him in radio-plays “Albert’s bridge” (1969), “Painters” (1973) and “Reflections (1983).
Debates about art and the position of artist are to Stoppard not of purely esthetic, but also political significance: that’s the root-cause of all his plays with a clear political “address”. A play “A good guy is worth good attitude” (1978) was dedicated to the Soviet dissidents Feinberg and Bukovsky, who have experienced all horrors of a punitive psychiatry. Play “Encoded Hamlet and Macbeth” (1979) was based upon the description of Czech events, while the TV play “A square circle” (1984) describes the Polish “Solidarnost” movement.
After his exile from the “big” scene, Czech actors Pavel Landovsky and Vera Khramostova, living a nomad life in different Prague flats, played in the “Macbeth” play, staged by Pavel Kogout. It was that very fact that inspired Tom Stoppard to compose his “The Present” play. It provoked huge resonance in a theatrical world, along with a play “Professional trick”, which Stoppard dedicated to a dramatist Vaclav Havel, who later became the President of Czech Republic.
In 1966 they published Stoppard’s only novel “Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon”.
Stoppard is an author of a scenario to the “Despair” movie, staged after Vladimir Nabokov’s novel (1977, producer Fassbinder). A sensation of the London season 1993-1994 was Stoppard’s play “Arkadia” – a smart theatrical intellectual game, in which all normal Stoppard’s motives and tricks are combined within the same scenario.
Tom Stoppard is an author of scenarios to the popular films “Brazil”, “Indiana Jones and the last crusade” (not mentioned in cast), “Billy Buttgate” and “Shakespeare in love”. Moreover, he acted as a filmmaker of a movie “Rosenkrats and Gildenstern are dead”.
Tom Stoppard is member of world-known human rights organization “Amnesty International”.