Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing
Graduate Dramatic Society presents
Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing

19 Jun 2015 to 4 Jul 2015

WHAT happens when a playwright and actors dodge intricately between make-believe and reality?

The answer lies in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, presented by the Graduate Dramatic Society at Stirling Theatre.

Directed by Barry Park, it follows playwright Henry and his marriage to two actresses – he is married to Charlotte, playing the lead in his latest play, but he soon falls for Annie and leaves his first wife.

The play explores whether this love is “the real thing”, along with the infidelity, lies and suspicion that take hold.

“I think Stoppard is a brilliant playwright,” Park said. “I’ve wanted to direct one of his plays for ages, ever since I first saw a wonderful production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

“I saw The Real Inspector Hound, Arcadia and Shakespeare in Love, then read all his plays and his biography.

“When I read The Real Thing, I immediately knew it was a play I would love to direct. If you love theatre, you have to love this play because it’s brilliantly written and constructed.

“Not only is it one of the great plays ever written about love but it’s also one of the greatest ever written about writing, creativity, playmaking and performing plays.

The Real Thing is full of layers and links and cleverly interwoven themes and ideas. Scenes replay themselves in subtly different ways and dialogue is repeated by different characters in different situations.

“It’s so witty, intelligent, skillful and taut – and deeply emotional at times, too.”

Acting and directing since the 1970s, Park has directed numerous plays including Death of a Salesman, Blythe Spirit, Lord of the Flies, The Life and Death of Almost Everybody, On Monday Next, The Golden Masque of Agamemnon, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds and Agnes of God, among many others.

Several have been nominated for awards, including Death of a Salesman, which scored seven nominations in the National Theatre Festival in Zimbabwe. Closer to home, he picked up gongs for best director and best play at WA’s annual Finley Awards for his production of M. Butterfly.

As an actor, Park has performed in a plethora of in plays, musicals, pantomimes, minstrel shows, films, radio plays and television in Harare, Cape Town, Edinburgh, London and Perth.

The Real Thing has been months in the planning for Park, who said having a good understanding of the play was absolutely essential, given its complicated nature.

“It’s challenging for the actors, who have to play roles within roles, and it’s certainly going to challenge the audience,” he said. “At times we see actors who are rehearsing plays they are about to perform.

“At other times, the plays-within-the-play seem so real that it’s difficult for the audience to know if they’re watching a play or the real thing.

“But that’s the delight of this show – it’s Stoppard playing with the audience in his typically delightful post-modern way.”

The Real Thing plays at 7.30pm June 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, July 2, 3 and 4 with 2pm matinees June 21 and 28. Tickets are $22, $20 concession – book at

Stirling Theatre is at 25 Morris Place, Innaloo.

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Stirling Theatre
Session TimesTicket PricesDuration
120 mins
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