The Real Thing A Play

Tom Stoppard

Farrar, Straus and Giroux




112 Pages


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The play begins with Max and Charlotte, a couple whose marriage seems about to rupture. But nothing one sees on a stage is the real thing, and some things are less real than others. Charlotte is an actress who has been appearing in a play about marriage by her husband, Henry. Max, her leading man, is also married to an actress, Annie. Both marriages are at the point of rupture because Henry and Annie have fallen in love. But is it the real thing?

Stoppard combines his characteristically brilliant wordplay and wit with flashes of insight that illuminate the nature—and the mystery—of love, creating a multi-toned play that challenges the mind while searching out the innermost secrets of the heart.


Praise for The Real Thing

Of the London production...
"[The Real Thing] is about both love and art, and it is wise, witty, and astonishing through and through . . . Enthralling."—Alastair Macaulay, Financial Times

"You couldn't ask for a more deeply felt, or more deeply affecting, drama about love than this . . . A play of strength, grace, melancholy and wit."—Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph

"When it comes to putting erotic love in its place, no contemporary English playwright has done so with such illuminating rigour or eloquence as Tom Stoppard."—Nicholas De Jongh, Evening Standard

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Tom Stoppard

  • Tom Stoppard's other work includes Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Tony Award), Jumpers, Travesties (Tony Award), Night and Day, After Margritte, The Real Thing (Tony Award), Enter a Free Man, Hapgood, Arcadia (Evening Standard Award, The Oliver Award and the Critics Award), Dalliance and Undiscovered Country, Indian Ink (a stage adaptation of his own play, In the Native State) and The Invention of Love.

    His radio plays include The Dissolution of Dominic Boot, 'M' is for Moon Among Other Things, If You're Glad I'll Be Frank, Albert's Bridge (Italia Prize), Where Are They Now?, Artist Descending A Staircase, The Dog It Was That Died and In the Native State (Sony Award).

    His work for television includes Professional Foul (Bafta Award, Broadcasting Press Guild Award). His film credits include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead which he also directed (winner of the Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival).