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Jumpers

chanteuse

play stoppard philosophy university

a play by Tom Stoppard, performed and published in 1972. Perhaps Stoppard's most original attempt to reconcile intellectual ideas with what he has called ‘the theatre of audacity’, this play begins with a song, some striptease by a girl on a chandelier, and dogged acrobatics by yellow-suited university dons, one of whom is shot dead as he piles into a human pyramid. What follows, though packed with diverting jokes and parody, mainly involves the forlorn attempts of George, a Professor of Moral Philosophy, to compose a paper defending his belief in God and to maintain a relationship with his wife Dottie, a chanteuse disoriented by the moral implications of men landing on the Moon. Eccentric invention proliferates as the play continues, but is somehow subordinated to a serious overriding purpose, which is to attack modern materialist philosophy, primarily represented here by the unnamed university's opportunist vice-chancellor, Sir Archie Jumpers. Stoppard himself has described the result as ‘a theist play written to combat the arrogant view that anyone who believes in God is some kind of cripple’.

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