Read Travesties Online

Authors: Tom Stoppard




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The Invention of Love



Copyright © 1975 by Tom Stoppard

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CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that
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First-class professional applications for permission to perform it, and those other rights stated above, must be made in advance to Peters Fraser & Dunlop, Drury House, 34-43 Russell Street, London WC2B 5HA, England.

Stock and amateur applications to perform it, and those other rights stated above, must be made in advance, before rehearsals begin, with Samuel French, Ltd., 45 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10010.

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Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 75-13552

eBook ISBN-13: 978-0-8021-9532-6

Grove Press
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09 10 11 12 13 14 15     30 29 28 27 26 25 24

For Oliver, Barnaby,
William and Edmund

The first performance of
took place at the Aldwych Theatre, London, on 10 June 1974 in a production by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The cast was as follows:


John Wood


John Hurt


Tom Bell


Frank Windsor


John Bott


Maria Aitken


Beth Morris


Barbara Leigh-Hunt

The play was directed by Peter Wood, and designed by Carl Toms with lighting by Robert Ornbo.

was revived by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican, London, on 16 October 1993 with the following cast:


Antony Sher


David Westhead


Lloyd Hutchinson


Geoffrey Freshwater


Amanda Harris


Rebecca Saire


Trevor Martin


Darlene Johnson


Adrian Noble


Richard Hudson


Jennifer Tipton


Guy Woolfenden

The text printed in this edition incorporates revisions made by the author for the above production.


appears as a shabby and very old man and also as his youthful elegant self.

is the Dadaist of that name. He was a short, dark-haired, very boyish-looking young man, and charming (his word). He wears a monocle.

is James Joyce in 1917/18, aged 36. He wears a jacket and trousers from two different suits.

is Lenin in 1917: aged 47.

is Carr's manservant. Quite a weighty presence.

is Carr's younger sister; young and attractive but also a personality to be reckoned with.

is also young and attractive and even more to be reckoned with. Also appears as her old self.

is Nadezhda Krupskaya, Lenin's wife: aged 48.

Henry Wilfred Carr, 1894–1962

The reader of a play whose principal characters include Lenin, James Joyce and Tristan Tzara may not realize that the figure of Henry Carr is likewise taken from history. But this is so.

In March 1918 (I take the following information from Richard Ellmann's
James Joyce
), Claud Sykes, an actor temporarily living in Zurich, suggested to Joyce that they form a theatrical company to put on plays in English. Joyce agreed, and became the business manager of The English Players, the first production to be that of
The Importance of Being Earnest
. Actors were sought.
Professionals were to receive a token fee of 30 francs and amateurs to make do with 10 francs for tram fare to rehearsals. Joyce became very active and visited the Consul General, A. Percy Bennett, in order to procure official approval for the Players. He succeeded in this, despite the fact that Bennett ‘was annoyed with Joyce for not having reported to the Consulate officially to offer his services in wartime, and was perhaps aware of Joyce's work for the neutralist
International Review
and of his open indifference to the war's outcome. He may even have heard of Joyce's version of
Mr Dooley
, written about this time …' – I quote from Ellmann's superb biography, whose companionship was not the least pleasure in the writing of

Meanwhile, Sykes was piecing together a cast … ‘An important find was Tristan Rawson, a handsome man who had sung baritone roles for four years in the Cologne Opera House but had never acted in a play. After much coaxing Rawson agreed to take on the role of John Worthing. Sykes recruited Cecil Palmer as the butler, and found a woman named Ethel Turner to play Miss Prism … As yet, however, there was no one to take the leading role of Algernon Moncrieff. In an unlucky moment Joyce nominated a tall, goodlooking young man named Henry Carr, whom he had seen in the consulate. Carr, invalided from the service, had a small job there. Sykes learned that he had acted in some amateur plays in Canada, and decided to risk him.'

Carr's performance turned out to be a small triumph. He had
even, in his enthusiasm, bought some trousers, a hat and a pair of gloves to wear as Algernon. But immediately after the performance the actor and the business manager quarrelled. Joyce handed each member of the cast 10 or 30 francs, as prearranged, but succeeded in piquing Carr, who later complained to Sykes that Joyce had handed over the money like a tip.

The upshot was disproportionate and drawn out. Joyce and Carr ended up going to law, in two separate actions, Carr claiming reimbursement for the cost of the trousers, etc., or alternatively a share of the profits, and Joyce counter-claiming for the price of five tickets sold by Carr, and also suing for slander. These matters were not settled until February 1919. Joyce won on the money and lost on the slander, but he reserved his full retribution for
, where ‘he allotted punishments as scrupulously and inexorably as Dante … Originally Joyce intended to make Consul General Bennett and Henry Carr the two drunken, blasphemous and obscene soldiers who knock Stephen Dedalus down in the “Circe” episode; but he eventually decided that Bennett should be the sergeant-major, with authority over Private Carr, who, however, refers to him with utter disrespect.'

From these meagre facts about Henry Carr – and being able to discover no others – I conjured up an elderly gentleman still living in Zurich, married to a girl he met in the Library during the Lenin years, and recollecting, perhaps not with entire accuracy, his encounters with Joyce and the Dadaist Tzara.

Soon after the play opened in London I was excited and somewhat alarmed to receive a letter beginning, ‘I was totally fascinated by the reviews of your play – the chief reason being that Henry Carr was my husband until he died in 1962.' The letter was from Mrs Noël Carr, his second wife.

From her I learned that Henry Wilfred Carr was born in Sunderland in 1894 and brought up in County Durham. He was one of four sons, including his twin Walter, now also dead. At 17 Henry went to Canada where he worked for a time in a bank. In 1915 he volunteered for military service and went to France with the Canadian Black Watch. He was badly wounded the following year and – after lying five days in no-man's-land – was taken prisoner. Because of his wounds Henry was sent by the Germans
to stay at a monastery where the monks tended him to a partial recovery, and then as an ‘exchange prisoner' he was one of a group who were sent to Switzerland.

Thus Henry Carr arrived in Zurich where he was to cross the path of James Joyce and find himself a leading actor in both onstage and offstage dramas, leading to immortality of a kind as a minor character in

It was in Zurich, too, that he met his first wife, Nora Tulloch. They married in England after the war and later he took her back to Canada where he found a job in a department store in Montreal. He rose within the organization to become company secretary.

In 1928, while in Montreal, he met Noël Bach and after his divorce they were married there in 1933. The following year they returned to England. Henry ultimately joined a foundry company and when the next war came he and his wife were living in Sheffield. They were bombed out, and moved to a Warwickshire village, where Henry commanded the Home Guard, and they stayed in Warwickshire in the post-war years.

In 1962, while he was on a visit to London, Henry had a heart attack, and he died in St Mary Abbots Hospital, Kensington. He had no children.

I am indebted to Mrs Noël Carr for these biographical details, and, particularly, for her benevolence towards me and towards what must seem to her a peculiarly well-named play.



Nearly everything spoken by Lenin and Nadezhda Krupskaya herein comes from his Collected Writings and from her
Memories of Lenin
. I have also profited variously – and gratefully – from the following books:
by Michael C. Morgan;
by Robert Payne;
Lenin and the Bolsheviks
by Adam B. Ulam;
To The Finland Station
by Edmund Wilson;
Days With Lenin
by Maxim Gorki;
The First World War, an Illustrated History
by A. J. P. Taylor;
James Joyce
by Richard Ellmann;
by John Gross;
Dada, Art and Anti-Art
by Hans Richter; and
The Dada Painters and Poets
, edited by Robert Motherwell. I am also indebted to Mr James Klugmann for material relating to Lenin in Switzerland. The responsibility for the use to which this and all other material is put is my own.

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