The Tom Stoppard play “Rock ‘n’ Roll” is awesome. I saw it at The Stage in San Jose, and it was performed brilliantly, with excellent sound and visual effects. It explores Czechoslovakia’s Prague Spring, the Velvet Revolution and the effects of popular music from 1968 to 1990.
Some of the ideological debate is very deep, and probably few of the audience knew anything about the writings of Havel. In fact, in the Ladies room I met a woman who said to me “I studied political science at U of C Berkeley, and I am not following this! When we learned about communism, we only learned about Marx. That was it.” In the end, though, the main points became clear enough, and the music was the sound track of our lives.
The insight I gained from this play is that rock ‘n’ roll had a more powerful effect than ideological debate on the course of Czech history. The musicians and their fans had sidestepped the political arguments; they just stopped caring. Knockout stuff! See this play if you get the chance.