Famed Playwright Tom Stoppard to Appear at Wilma Theater

His visit is in anticipation of the regional premiere of The Hard Problem in 2016.

Tom Stoppard, whose works include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Real Thing, and Arcadia, amongst many others, will be heading to Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater for one night only to discuss something that seems as far away from theater as possible: cognitive science. Or so one would think.

Stoppard will be joined on stage by philosopher and cognitive scientist David Chalmers, along with Rutgers Associate Professor Elisabeth Camp, to discuss the notion of “the hard problem,” a phrase coined by Chalmers to describe “the largest outstanding obstacle in our quest for a scientific understanding of the universe.” Not so ironically, the phrase is also the title of Stoppard’s newest play, which will be staged at the Wilma in 2016. The evening is scheduled for December 14th at 7:30 pm.

For anyone who is familiar with Stoppard’s work, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the writer delves into matters of the mind. In fact, at a talkback during the U.K. staging of The Hard Problem, Stoppard told the audience, “It’s very rare to connect an audience except on a level which is lower than you would want to connect them on … You could raise it a notch and you might lose an eighth of them. It’s to do with reference and allusion.”

For theater goers in Philadelphia who frequent the Wilma, they’ve seen just how challenging yet rewarding Stoppard’s plays are: The Wilma has arguably become America’s foremost interpreter of the playwright’s work, thanks mostly to the organization’s artistic director, Blanka Zizka, who has helmed a good percentage of the Stoppard cannon.

Tickets to the evening with Stoppard, Chalmers, and Camp are $25 and can be purchased by visiting this link. The area premiere of The Hard Problem starts Wilma performances on January 6th. For more information, visit their website.

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