The Real Thing at the Huntington Theatre - Life imitates art in Tom Stoppard's Play

Every day we watch performers and writers fall in love at work, again' and again' and again. Actors dance in and out of love affairs and claim the second, third, and fourth big relationship to be the Real Thing. For these creative artists, life imitates art.


Evan Yionoulis, director of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, captures this blurriness between art and reality in his portrayal of a couple who defines and redefines love. Playwright Henry (Rufus Collins) and actress Annie (Kate Nowlin) fall in love. As they leave their spouses Charlotte (Meg Gibson) and Max (Matthew Boston), they struggle to reassure each other and themselves that they made the right decision.

The characters Henry and Annie could easily come across as fickle and unlikable. However, Collins and Nowlin inject humor and lightness that makes us enjoy the two characters. Collins adds a self-deprecation that keeps us smiling even as his character makes questionable choices. Nowlin captures the narcissistic self-absorbed insecurity of Annie, but she also lets her character laugh at her own crazy ideas. Because of Nowlin's performance, we understand why Henry loves her.


Characters Max and Charlotte add the same tone of humor to offset the drama that unfolds. Max's (Boston's) monologue during the first scene is one of the funniest parts of the show. The show is worth seeing just for that first scene!

Bottom line' the show is a success because Yionoulis brings humanity to the characters. Even as we watch the deception that unfolds, we also see the moral struggles. We leave the theatre admitting to ourselves that there's a part of us that is' gasp' just like them. Life imitates art for us too.

When: Septebmer 9-October 9, 2005

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