Thursday, 14 January 2016

'Hapgood' by Tom Stoppard - An Analysis

Hi everyone,

Here's a first for me, an anaylsis of a theatre production which I went to see at the of December. The only reason why I am doing this is because 'Hapgood' itself is quite a complicated production to follow. But, after doing a little bit of "thinking outside the box" I might have just cracked it.

Character Analysis


- Top female spy with British Intelligence
- Is a mother to a young son called Joe
- Kerner's ex-girlfriend/ lover
- Ridley's alibi
- Met Ridley in Athens on another operation that went wrong
- Hapgood's twin doesn't look great, doesn't stop talking, a pot-head who just happens to be growning the stuff in a window box


- Spy with British Intelligence
- Works alongside Hapgood & is her alibi
- Street smart, trigger happy and is also down to Earth
- Ridley delivered Kerner's briefcase to Hapgood during the swap
- Met Hapgood in Athens on another operation that went wrong
- Ridley is asked to go through what happened at the briefcase swap with Kerner
- Ridley's twin is called Ernest and is a photographer


- Russian Physicist and a spy working for both the KGB and British Intelligence; just isn't too sure which of the sides he is supposed to be working for
- Head of an anti-matter programme in which he works with American & Swiss organisations
- Swaps briefcases with the Russian Embassy
- In Kerner's briefcase it contained a disc containing his work regarding the anti-matter programme
- Also, Kerner's briefcase was booby-trapped by Wates, as it was sprayed with a radioactive deodorant
- Washington wants Kerner taken off every operation, even though he has done nothing wrong


- Works for the CIA, and British Intelligence
- Oversees the briefcase swap
- Doesn't like Hapgood referring to him as just 'Wates', because he actually called Ben
- Eye for detail


- Head of British Intelligence, and is also working for the KGB
- Hapgood's boss
- Starts to investigate what went wring during the briefcase swap
- Interviews Kerner regarding some photographs from the anti-matter programme, as they came from Moscow


- Hapgood's son
- Enjoys playing Rugby
- Being educated at a private boarding school
- Well mannered
- Gets kidnapped


- Newcomer working for British Intelligence
- Works under Hapgood
- Could be a possible double agent

The Russian

- One half of the 'Russian Twins' who are present at the briefcase swap
- Mute


- Hapgood's secretary
- Liaises with Governments from all over the world
- Intercepts Hapgood's correspondence
- Reiable, care free and well mannered
- Could be working as the other half of the 'Russian Twins'
- Possibly sorted out the briefcases before the swap, and may have had Hapgood herself alongside him to oversee everything
- Passes on Hapgood's chess moves to a secretary from another country
- Passes on the information to Hapgood that Joe has been kidnapped

Plot Analysis

Hapgood is a female spy working for British Intelligence, who also just happens to have a son. She is put in charge of a briefcase swap, which takes place at a local swimming pool; but it goes wrong. The swap goes wrong, as they twins operating on the swap. Also, operating on the swap was Kerner and inside his briefcase was a bleep, and this was being tracked by Wates. Kerner's briefcase had also been booby-trapped by Wates with a radioactive deodorant, and when we actually meet Hapgood its Kerner's briefcase she is holding.

  Following the briefcase swap, an investigation takes place & it turns out Kerner is clean because Ridley did the swap. But, Washington want Kerner taken off everything and his career as an agent is over; but his career as a Physicist isn't. The Americans are spending millions of dollars within the UK to fund Kerner's SDI research, but it turns out that he has been swapping briefcases with the Russians. While doing the briefcase swap it was Kerner who delivered the case to Ridley, and then Ridley delivered the case to Hapgood.

Act Two begins with a meeting which takes place between Hapgood, Blair and Ridley, and they are interviewing Kerner regarding some photographs that are part of the anti-matter programme. Kerner is running the anti-matter programme alongside the Centre for Nuclear Research in Geneva, and Livermoor Research in California. The photographs that have been intercepted went through both labs, and also the SDI office within the Pentagon, and then they travelled by embassy courier to Grosvenor Square and then they were also copies sent to the Defense Liaison Committee. They were fifteen copies made in Hapgood's office - nine American and six British. The British copies have white patches to show the erasure of the circular number that is printed on each page, and then Washington add an American Circulation prefix. The photos which were intercpeted came from Moscow.

  Later on during the day Hapgood finds out that Joe has been kidnapped, and they want to trade for Kerner's anti-particle trap, which is a disc full of physics. They agree to do the swap, but Hapgood gives Blair the dummy disc from Ridley's briefcase. Also, Blair had missed the contact with the kidnappers and Hapgood picked up on this; and this is because the kidnappers used Interflora.
  Ridley goes to see Hapgood's twin, but Ridley is also a twin who goes by the name of Ernest and he is a photographer. Whereas, Hapgood's twin doesn't stop talking, doesn't look great, and who is also a pot head who just happens to be growing the stuff in a window box. Ridley's twin offers Hapgood's twin £2000, but for everytime she swear he will burn £50.
  Ridley's twin and Hapgood twin go undercover in Hapgood's office to retrieve Kerner's disc, and this will be used in exchange for Joe.
  When the exchange for Joe takes place both Hapgood and Ridley discover that Blair has been for the KGB, aswell as British Intelligence, and it turns out that Hapgood and her team of British Intelligence have just been keeping the KGB in business.


Everyone always suspects Ridley as being the bad guy, when if fact he isn't. Amazing what you figure when you start tp unpick a script. The character that everyone should be watching for is Maggs, and here's why :-

- Maggs works for Hapgood as her secretary, which means he has excess to all her correspondence before passing it onto Hapgood. But all this takes place outside Hapgood's office, which means that he could be secretly working as a double/ triple agent without her knowledge, and this is due to liasing with Governments from all over the world.
- May have worked alongisde Hapgood to sort out the briefcases before the swap took place. He may have also been present at the swap, as one of the 'Russian Twins'. But, no one at the swap knew this as they realise that the twins were in operation until the swap had finished.
- Worked with Blair to arrange Joe's kidnap. Merryweather should have been picking Joe up from school, but he wasn't there. Which means, Maggs got there before him and took him to a safe house without Hapgood's knowledge. He also arranged the Interflora delivery for Hapgood to receive.
- He must be working undercover as part of the 'Russian Twins', because he would have known about Kerner's research. He could have found this out either from Blair or from the Russian Embassy. But, instead of just taking the disc from the safe inside Hapgood's office; he must have given Blair the idea of arranging a briefcase swap that Hapgood would lead.

I hope you enjoyed reading something just a little different from me. But the truth is; I actually have no idea myself if the theories are right or wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment