Out & About

See new play from Tom Stoppard as part of National Theatre Live broadcast

“The Hard Problem,” Tom Stoppard’s first new play in nine years, will be on the screen this weekend at Macon’s Douglass Theatre, courtesy of Great Britain’s National Theatre.

The Czech-born playwright -- officially known as Sir Tom Stoppard -- is well-known as the prolific author of such hit plays as “Arcadia,” “The Coast of Utopia,” “The Real Thing” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”

Winner of one Academy Award and four Tony Awards, he is also the co-author of “Shakespeare in Love” and scads of other pieces for radio, TV and film.

The broadcast of Stoppard’s new play will air at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Douglass, one of just two venues in Georgia. Stoppard’s work has been frequently performed in the midstate -- especially “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” -- so we can expect a crowd to see this latest work.

The production is directed by Nicholas Hytner, and will be his last at the National Theatre.

Like much of Stoppard’s work, “The Hard Problem” is said to deal with philosophical matters and, in this case, the mystery of their connection with such widely diverse things as financial markets, materialism and altruism. If all is “material,” what then is consciousness? A hard problem, indeed.

Clearly, the subject matter is complex, but those who have seen the intellectual mind-teaser “Arcadia” will not be surprised.

The plot of this latest work involves a young woman, a psychology student, who is attempting to win a position at a neuroscience facility. Her ideas about human consciousness collide with those of a rival, a hedge fund manager who attempts to predict global markets.

While some critics have complained that the various characters aren’t so much people as they are opposing viewpoints, the similarities to “Arcadia” make me think that those who enjoy a cerebral plot will be quite intrigued with this latest effort from Sir Tom.

“The Hard Problem”

When: 3 p.m. May 3

Where: Douglass Theatre, 355 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Cost: $20 adults, $15 students and seniors

Information: 478-742-2000

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