The Info List - Jumpers

Jumpers is a play by Tom Stoppard
Tom Stoppard
which was first performed in 1972. It explores and satirises the field of academic philosophy, likening it to a less-than skilful competitive gymnastics display. Jumpers raises questions such as "What do we know?" and "Where do values come from?" It is set in an alternative reality where some British astronauts have landed on the moon and "Radical Liberals" (read pragmatists and relativists) have taken over the British government (the play seems to suggest that pragmatists and relativists would be immoral: Archie says that murder is not wrong, merely "antisocial"). It was inspired by the notion that a manned moon landing would ruin the moon as a poetic trope and possibly lead to a collapse of moral values.


1 Plot 2 Productions 3 References 4 External links

Plot[edit] George Moore is a faded and slightly foolish philosophy professor employed at a university whose slick, exercise-mad Vice-Chancellor Archie Jumper forces a tumbling and leaping curriculum on the faculty. One such flipping prof, McFee, is shot dead in the cabaret chaos of the opening scene, setting off a suddenly very urgent philosophical duel on the moral nature of man. Caught in between is Dotty, George's disturbed wife and Archie's "patient." Dotty, a former student of George's, ended a semi-successful stage career when the sight of astronauts on the moon unhinged her sanity. According to Dotty, the conquering of the moon revealed the human race—once scientifically and spiritually the center of the universe—as "little, local."[1] Productions[edit] The play was first performed by the National Theatre Company at the Old Vic
Old Vic
Theatre, London on 2 February 1972 with Michael Hordern
Michael Hordern
and Diana Rigg
Diana Rigg
in the leading roles of George and Dorothy. Peter Wood directed the original production and Carl Toms designed its sets and costumes. The play premiered on Broadway on April 22, 1974, at the Billy Rose Theatre and closed on June 1, 1974, after 48 performances. Directed again by Peter Wood, it featured Brian Bedford
Brian Bedford
and Jill Clayburgh. Bedford won the Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Performance. In 1984 Nicholas Hytner directed a production at the Royal Exchange, Manchester with Tom Courtenay
Tom Courtenay
as George, Julie Walters
Julie Walters
as Dotty and John Bennett as Archie. A revival directed for the Royal National Theatre
Royal National Theatre
by David Leveaux opened in London's Lyttelton Theatre on June 19, 2003.[2] The show transferred to Broadway on April 25, 2004, playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, and closed on July 11, 2004 after 89 performances and 23 previews. The Broadway show featured Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale
as George and Essie Davis as Dotty. The play received a Tony Award nomination for Best play revival. References[edit]

^ Playbill: Leveaux and Company Mount a Moral Trapeze as Stoppard's Jumpers Opens on Broadway ^ 'WhatsOnStage.com', 16 June 2003 Archived 16 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine..

External links[edit]

Reviews Internet Broadway Database, 2 productions

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Tom Stoppard

Stage plays

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Enter a Free Man The Real Inspector Hound After Magritte Jumpers Travesties Dirty Linen and New-Found-Land Professional Foul Every Good Boy Deserves Favour Night and Day Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth 15-Minute Hamlet Undiscovered Country On the Razzle The Real Thing Rough Crossing Dalliance Hapgood Arcadia Indian Ink The Invention of Love The Coast of Utopia Rock 'n' Roll The Hard Problem

Radio plays

Artist Descending a Staircase The Dog It Was That Died In the Native State Darkside


Three Men in a Boat The Boundary Despair Brazil Empire of the Sun Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (also directed) The Russia House Billy Bathgate Poodle Springs Shakespeare in Love Enigma Anna Karenina Parade's End