Tom Stoppard’s new play The Hard Problem at the National Theatre’s Dorfman Theatre.

Tom Stoppard presents his new play THE HARD PROBLEM at the Dorfman Theatre, directed by Nicholas Hytner.

The Hard Problem is Tom Stoppard’s first play for the stage since Rock ’n’ Roll at the Royal Court in 2006, and his first for the National since his trilogy, The Coast of Utopia, in 2002.

Stoppard’s long association with the National began with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead in 1967, and went on to include productions of Jumpers, On the Razzle, Rough Crossing, The Real Inspector Hound, Arcadia, The Invention of Love, The Coast of Utopia and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (written with André Previn). His stage plays, which have won eight Evening Standard awards and five Tony awards, also include Travesties, The Real Thing and Shakespeare in Love.

Olivia Vinall stars as Hilary in the play alongside Vera Chok, Jonathan Coy, Damien Molony, Lucy Robinson and Parth Thakerar.

The Hard Problem is designed by Bob Crowley, with lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Arditti.

THE STORY

Hilary, a young psychology researcher at a brainscience institute, is nursing a private sorrow and a troubling question at work, where psychology and biology meet. If there is nothing but matter, what is consciousness? This is ‘the hard problem’ which puts Hilary at odds with her colleagues who include her first mentor Spike, her boss Leo and the billionaire founder of the institute, Jerry. Is the day coming when the computer and the fMRI scanner will answer all the questions psychology can ask? Meanwhile Hilary needs a miracle, and she is prepared to pray for one.

THE CAST

The cast includes Vera Chok, Jonathan Coy, Damien Molony, Lucy Robinson, Parth Thakerar and Olivia Vinall (as Hilary).

Olivia Vinall has recently played Cordelia in King Lear and Desdemona in Othello at the NT; she also appeared in Live from the National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage.