Sonya is in charge of all the registrations in UIC – this is part one of her recommendations for things to do in London
London is one of the most exciting cities in the world when it comes to theatre. Where else can you see Ian McKellen aka Gandarf, Keira Knightley or even Orland Bloom, treading the boards less than 20 feet in front of you. You don’t have to pay a lot of money for tickets either , lastminute.com can help you find cheap tickets for all sorts of shows.
One show that’s really worth having a look at is Tom Stoppard’s , ‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favour’. This is a play about censorship and freedom, but unlike anything else you have ever seen it has a full live orchestra, dancers as well as being a true story, well almost.
The plot centres on two prisons who share a cell together in a Special Psychiatric hospital. They also share the same name, Alexander Ivanov, which causes a lot of confusion and many laughs. Ivanov plays the triangle and hears the orchestra in his head, though we hear it too. He is in prison because he’s mad, because he hears an orchestra in his head. Alexander has been put in the same cell in prison because he cannot stay quiet about the things he sees that he doesn’t like. The doctors say he is mad because he will not tell lies to protect himself. The government says he is mad because he cannot stop telling lies about them. The audience thinks he’s mad because his son is left alone.
What makes the show worth seeing is the interplay between orchestra and the emotions of the two men. At one point the orchestra becomes part of the action when some of its members stop playing and an electric dance/ fight takes place, bringing to life the feeling of a world pulling itself apart. Stoppard wrote the play in 1978 as a response to the arrest and imprisonment of a group of people who had protested in 1968 in Red Square against the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. One of those individuals had in fact been declared insane by the authorities and imprisoned for 5 years. Stoppard writing in a revised introduction to the text, points out a report published in The Times in February 2009, “ Roman Nikolaichik, a parliamentary candidate for The Other Russia [party]… was sent to a psychiatric hospital after police questioned him about his political activities”.
The play still has a strong resonance in today mutli-media world. With the music and the dancing the dialogue and the inner story are quite easy to follow, even if it is your first time at an English language play.