Tom Stoppard's play about the private life of poet A.E. Housman, The Invention of Love, will have its U.S. premiere at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre. Dates could not be confirmed at press time. ACT artistic director Carey Perloff will direct. That make's two Stoppard premieres in two years for ACT. The Oscar winning playwright's ("Shakespeare in Love") Indian Ink ended its run at the theatre on March 21. No New York production of the play has yet been planned.
The Invention of Love debuted at London's Haymarket Theatre Nov. 3, 1998, closing Feb. 6, 1999, after a 14-week run. The critically acclaimed play, directed by former RNT artistic director Sir Richard Eyre, focuses Housman, the classics professor, poet and author of "A Shropshire Lad." It starred John Wood as the elderly Housman who looks back on his young self with remorse for the secret and unrequited love of his friend Moses Jackson and his perceived failings compared to his more flamboyant and openly homosexual contemporary Oscar Wilde.
The production first opened at the Royal National Theatre in 1997. It played in repertory to sell-out audiences, first in the RNT's smaller Cottesloe and then in the Lyttelton Theatre. The Invention of Love won the 1997 Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best New Play as well as earning Eyre Best Director accolade in both the Evening Standard and Critics Circle Awards. It also received Laurence Olivier Award nominations for Best New Play and Best Actor for John Wood.