FSU's School of Theatre Presents "The Real Inspector Hound"

By Vivian El-Salawy on October 16, 2017

Florida State University’s School of Theatre presents The Real Inspector Hound, a short, one-act play written by Tom Stoppard.

Tom Stoppard is a British playwright and screenwriter, with some of his most prominent plays being that of Arcadia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, and The Coast of Utopia.  

According to BBC News, Sir Tom Stoppard, who has indeed been knighted, swept the Tony theatre awards in New York in 2007. The Coast of Utopia, which also won best featured actor in a play for Billy Crudup as well as several technical awards, is Sir Tom’s fourth best play Tony award.

Stoppard’s plays are sometimes dismissed to be “pieces of clever showmanship, lacking in substance, social commitment, or emotional weight,” as stated per the Oxford Companion to Theatre and Performance. Rather than revealing their author’s view, his work instead serves to conceal, as seen in his comedies such as The Real Inspector Hound, written in 1968. The Real Inspector Hound creates humor through highly formal devices of reframing and juxtaposition.

Image via FSU School of Theatre

Stoppard made a statement to Salon News regarding the themes he incorporates into his comedic pieces, emphasizing that he “must stop compromising [his] plays with this whiff of social application. They must be entirely untouched by any suspicion of usefulness.”

The Real Inspector Hound is also considered to be an absurdist piece of work. Britannica describes the Theatre of the Absurd to be dramatic works of European and American dramatists of the 1950s and 1960s whose works agreed with that of Albert Camus. The idea behind Camus’s assessment in his essay “The Myth of Sisyphus,” written in 1942, is this notion that the human situation is devoid of purpose. Therefore, most dramatists shortly after began creating works that thrived on the idea that humankind is “hopeless and bewildered.”

This is also why many Absurdist plays strayed from following the logical structures of traditional theatre. Stoppard admits to his plays, such as that of The Real Inspector Hound, not being socially applicable and only being there for the purpose of being there. The Real Inspector Hound is able to break down the idea of how one person’s reality differs from that of another, and it plays with the collection of where the truth really lies.

Image via Vivian El-Salawy

The Real Inspector Hound follows the story of two theatre critics, Moon (played by Avianna Tato) and Birdboot (played by Giancarlo Herrera). The theatre critics are attending a play in London. Already, the audience is captured in a play-within-a-play murder mystery. However, it doesn’t end there.

Image via Vivian El-Salawy

The show, directed by Piper Gaul and stage managed by Celeste Collado, is a prime example of immersive theatre. At times, it breaks the fourth wall and truly lets the audience interact with what they are witnessing in front of them. The inclusion of the audience in a play with a detective-like genre gives the show a unique taste. The participation factor deepens the level of reality that is being experienced on stage. It also blurs the complexity behind both the characters’ and the audience’s perception of the “truth.”

“The Real Inspector Hound pushes the audience to question whether or not what they’re seeing is drama or reality,Gaul said. “This production in particular provides the audience with a chance to be in the middle of the action, beside the characters, to watch a murder mystery on its opening night.”

Mrs. Drudge, played by Amanda Fernandez-Acosta, is the maid at Muldoon Manor — your standard setting for a detective, murder mystery. With saucy characters, such as Inspector Hound (played by Chanterelle Davis), Simon (played by Seth Robbins), Felicity (played by Hannah Trowell), Cynthia (played by Sara Demetree), Magnus (played by Christian Meany) and a dead body (played by Megan Archbold), various windows of opportunity are tossed around for where the minds of the audience may wonder.

Image via Vivian El-Salawy

Watching the show was similar to playing a game of “Clue,” however arguably more interesting. These student actors do a phenomenal job of bringing their respective roles to life. Oddly, while it yells “your standard murder mystery” at first sight, it is quite the opposite.

“What absurd fun Tom Stoppard created when he let fantasies run wild.” – Evening Standard

“Witty and delicious parody of the fog bound whodunit.” – Guardian

“A masterpiece … Stoppard mines murder mystery conventions and strikes gold.” – Independent on Sunday

This fall, the FSU School of Theatre’s Act II season has been pushing students to explore theatre inside and outside of the realm of conventional art. Through challenging students through their engagement in experimental works, they are able to expand their personal and professional capabilities, whether it be through directing, acting, stage managing, or designing. Supporting student theatre is crucial to helping these students cultivate the skills that are needed in order to be successful in a professional theatre setting. However, with Florida State University being home to one of the top theatre programs in the nation, these student productions are of a professional quality already.

The School of Theatre at Florida State was recognized in a recent article by Playbill as being one of the top 10 schools in the nation, based off of alumni representation on Broadway. The list includes alumni in shows such as Aladdin, Hello, Dolly!, The Book of Mormon, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, School of Rock, Groundhog’s Day, and A Bronx Tale.

Image via Vivian El-Salawy

The Act II Production of The Real Inspector Hound will take place from Friday, October 27 to Sunday, October 29 at 8 p.m. at the Augusta Conradi Studio Theatre, located in the Williams Building at Florida State University. Adult tickets and student tickets are $5. Please note that every person, regardless of age, must hold a valid ticket in order to watch the show. The recommended viewing age for the show is 16 years of age and older, as the show contains material that may be inappropriate for audiences under the age of 16. You can purchase tickets at tickets.fsu.edu or you can call the Fine Arts Ticket Office at (850) 644-6500.

Follow Uloop

Apply to Write for Uloop News

Join the Uloop News Team

Discuss This Article

Back to Top

Log In

Contact Us

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.

Add a Photo

Please select a photo to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format