'The Real Inspector Hound' to close DPU theatre season

Friday, April 6, 2007
DePauw University students portraying roles in "The Real Inspector Hound" include (from left) Andrew Cole, Mackenzie Travers, Katie Daniel and Josh Enneking. The play is the final DePauw production of the 2006-07 theatre season.

The final production of the 2006-07 DePauw Theatre season will be "The Real Inspector Hound" by award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and author Tom Stoppard.

Performances of the one-act farce that lampoons both theatre criticism and the English whodunnit are April 12-14 at 7:30 p.m., and April 15 at 2:30 p.m. in Moore Theatre in the DePauw University Performing Art Center.

Written in 1968, "The Real Inspector Hound" is a smart and snappy swipe at self-important theatre critics in the predictable Agatha Christie-style English weekend country-house murder mystery.

In this play-within-a-play, critics Moon and Birdboot, one a second-stringer and the other a lecherous blowhard, watch "Murder at Muldoon Manor" with more concern for their personal agendas than for critiquing the clichéd play. Soon, however, the two are swept up into the action and -- literally -- onto the stage, with startling and hilarious results.

"Dislocation of an audience's assumptions is an important part of what I like to write," explains Stoppard. True to this preference, "The Real Inspector Hound" pursues a specific line of development, only to be undercut by an unexpected and paradoxical twist. Richard Watts of the New York Post lauds the play as "...a comedy satire of high and delightful quality, and great fun. Even though you may admire murder mysteries or, what is more unlikely, drama critics, you can appreciate its wisdom and revel in the hilarity with which Mr. Stoppard takes them apart. The action is fast, continuous, and extremely funny."

Stoppard is a prolific writer having crafted over 20 plays including three Tony Award-winners -- "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," "The Real Thing," and "Travesties." Other work includes adaptations and translations of works by Anton Chekhov, Federico Garcia Lorca and Vaclav Havel; numerous television and radio plays; and a novel.

His screenplays include "Brazil," co-written with Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown; "Empire of the Sun," and the Academy Award-winning "Shakespeare in Love" co-written with Marc Norman. A British citizen, Stoppard was knighted in 1997.

"I like Stoppard's shattering of theatrical conventions," says director and associate professor of communication and theatre M. Susan Anthony. "I thought that this farce would be an interesting and entertaining way to end our season." The production is suitable for all ages.

Tickets for the production are $3 for students and $6 for adults, and are available for purchase at the DePauw University Performing Arts Center box office.

Information and reservations are available by calling 658-4827 or emailing pacboxoffice@depauw.edu.

Still available for purchase are DePauw Theatre patron passes. Purchasers are entitled to five tickets for the price of four. The passes are available at both student and adult price levels.

To purchase or obtain additional information, contact the Performing Arts Center box office at the contacts listed above.

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