75 at 75: James Shapiro on Tom Stoppard
A special project for 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center’s 75th anniversary, 75 at 75 invites authors to listen to a recording from our archive and write a personal response. Here, James Shapiro writes about Tom Stoppard’s reading from several of his plays: Night and Day, Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, and, in particular, Cahoot’s Macbeth. It was recorded live at 92Y on March 27, 2001.
When I was sixteen I saw my brother act in a summer-stock production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and was hooked on Stoppard. When I got home I picked up a copy of Hamlet, which wasn’t taught in my high school. Encountering the two plays in that order left me with a nagging sense, one that I’ve never quite shaken, that Shakespeare owed more to Stoppard than the other way around.