Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll
Our friends had four tickets to see Rock ‘n’ Roll and we were the lucky one’s asked to join them. I rarely buy theater tickets outside of the subscriptions we own because between the movies, the music, the arts, the kids etc., I am not sure I could fit anymore in.
The play centers around the significance of rock and roll in Czechoslovakia during the communist regime before Havel came into power and a democratic society took place. The play spans from the 60’s to the 90’s centering around a professor and his student. The professor being a communist and the student feigning his interest in Marxism when in reality he is mostly about freedom and rock and roll.
There are a variety of characters. There is the band the Plastics who continued to play music while living under communist rule in Czechoslovakia to the family of the professor and the students variety of friends attempting to fight the system. I love the intermixing of music from Dylan to Pink Floyd to Beach Boys to Beatles., etc. Each scene ends with one of the songs playing and the screen comes down giving the information about the song such as who wrote it, where it was recorded, who sang it, etc.
My guess is that there will be more to be written and told about the fall of Communism in the Eastern bloc countries over time. Like The Lives of Others which won best foreign movie last year and is absolutely worth seeing. The play is long, almost 3 hours and could have certainly been shortened by at least 15 minutes. The first half is a tad choppy and hard to almost follow yet it all comes together in the end. What is worth noting is once the world changed in Czechoslovakia, the music changed. Rock stars were about making money and the capitalist economy changed the people. There are many references to the times we live in now vs. the lives we lived then. Much food for thought.