London -- Almost immediately after Tom Stoppard's new and intellectually thrilling play, The Hard Problem, at the National Theatre's Dorfman, begins, the just-about-peerless playwright has his characters discourse on the title's reference. It's a good thing he does. Stoppard has lifted it from Australian philosopher David Chalmers's phrase for the elusive origins of consciousness: How do we know what we know?
A challenging question--one of the most challenging--and it's not a foregone conclusion that all audiences will follow it, although they'd be well advised to make the effort. (The Hard Problem will be broadcast live from the National on March 18.)