Tom Stoppard, whose 4 Jewish grandparents and lots of his own family from his dad and mom’s era died in Nazi concentration camps, is returning to the West End with what’s in all likelihood to be his most private play.
The eighty-one-year-old playwrights have spent the ultimate yr writing Leopoldstadt, his first play in view that The Hard Problem on the National Theatre in early 2015. It is ready in 1900 in Vienna, then the maximum vibrant town in Europe where about a 10th of the population has been Jewish.
Stoppard is thought to be an impersonal creator, not often drawing on the autobiography. When requested where he got his thoughts from, he has regularly spoken back: “Harrods.”’
His new play is unique. “It took a yr to write, but the gestation became a good deal longer,” he stated. “Quite numerous its miles private to me, but I made it about a Viennese circle of relatives so that it wouldn’t seem to be approximately me.”
He stated the play, directed via Patrick Marber and produced through Sonia Friedman, turned into a huge one who wanted a big company. “Sonia wants to pass instantly into the West End with it, which I locate pretty interesting – just like the old days with [the producer] Michael Codron.
“I’m astonished to see that it’s five years due to the fact my ultimate play The Hard Problem. I’ll get a move on, or I’ll be pushing 90 earlier than the next one.”
Friedman, who has produced many of the largest industrial theatre hits of recent years, including The Ferryman and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, stated she had recognized Stoppard for years. “I’ve continually been badgering him, announcing: ‘When you do your next play, please can I produce it.’
She stated she became amazed while he requested “in a jokey manner” for six tickets to Harry Potter, providing to put in writing a play in going back. She told him it appeared “like quite a bargain … he changed into as appropriate as his phrase”.
A new playthrough Stoppard, written greater than 30, from his debut Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead to The Real Thing and Jumpers, is constantly a large deal. “He is without query our greatest living playwright and along or three others the best playwright of the 20 and twenty-first century,” said Friedman. “Observe his frame of work. He is one of the amazing minds, one of the super thinkers of our time.
“He has labored solidly for a year in this play, but it’s been a play that’s been gestating with him for decades.”
Friedman stated each she and Stoppard cherished the concept of starting in an “incredible, grand playhouse.” She introduced: “It is a lovely, epic, sweeping play this is going to sit down like a glowing jewel inside the West End, it’s miles a first-rate play, it’s a personal play.”
In what way it’s far personal, audiences will wait and see. “There’s a lot I need to mention, however, don’t since I can simply yet,” she said. “It will experience very applicable, very well timed, very pertinent.”
Stoppard has written approximately the “charmed life” he feels he has led. He turned into born Tomas Straussler in 1937 in Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic, and in 1939 his parents fled the Nazis and moved to Singapore. In 1942, as the Japanese were approximate to invade, he and his mother and brother had been placed on a ship to Australia that changed into diverted and landed in Bombay (now Mumbai). His father changed into killed in Singapore.
His mother married a British navy officer, Kenneth Stoppard, in 1946, and after four glad years in India, the family moved to England.
Leopoldstadt, which starts offevolved previews at Wyndham’s Theatre in January, takes its name from Vienna’s vintage Jewish zone. A generation earlier than 1900, Jewish human beings were granted complete civil rights via Emperor Franz Josef, and loads of lots of Jews sought sanctuary from pogroms in Leopoldstadt’s crowded tenements.
The play has been defined via producers as “an intimate drama with an epic sweep; the story of a family who made excellently.” Publicity fabric will quote Hermann, a manufacturing unit owner: “My grandfather wore a caftan. My father went to the opera in a pinnacle hat, and I even have the singers to dinner.”
It maintains: “It turned into no longer to ultimate. Half a century later, this own family, like millions of others, has rediscovered what it means to be Jewish in the first half of the twentieth century. Leopoldstadt is a passionate drama of love, family, and patience.”