This is a play by Tom Stoppard, best known for The Real Inspector Hound and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. This takes place on an English estate in the early 1800s during a tutoring session initially between a girl in her teens and her young, educated tutor. We learn that Lord Byron is also going to be here this weekend and the scholar clearly feels somewhat intimidated and annoyed by this news..
As the scene ends and the next scene begins, we are told by the narration and stage notes that the next scene will be taking place in the same room but something like 180 years apart. In this other time context (and the play will go back and forth) we meet a group of scholars and readers interesting in the specific context of the writing of a poem and this space as a site of historical interest.
So that’s the specifics of the play, a going back and forth between the two contexts, one in which history, as it were, is made and one where history, as it were, is studies and catalogued. The play is written with a lot of word play and verbal irony, and the disillusionment with the concept of history, especially in England, where time and geography are so condensed is really interesting and this works a lot like book like The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Possession, and even more so like the film version of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, where the viewer watches the film version of a novel being made as we also watch the actors in the film live in the contemporary.