When Travesties appeared on the London stage in 1974, it soon reinforced Tom Stoppard's reputation as one of the twentieth century's most innovative and clever playwrights. The play focuses on the fictional meeting of three important revolutionary figures in Zurich in 1917: the communist leader Lenin, the dadaist poet Tristan Tzara, and the modernist author James Joyce. Henry Carr, who in real life knew Joyce, relates the trio's interactions through his unreliable memory. The play takes the form of a witty farce as it showcases, through comic wordplay, the political and philosophical point of view of these three men, who all had a profound influence on their times. Humorous complications spring from misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and plot twists that Stoppard borrows from Oscar Wilde's farcical masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest. As Stoppard cleverly juxtaposes his three central figures' theories on Marxism, dadaism, and modernism, he addresses complex questions on the nature and function of politics and art and the role of the artist. Anne Wright, in her article on Stoppard for the Dictionary of Literary Biography, suggests that Travesties, along with his other plays, proves Stoppard to be "a skilled craftsman, handling with great dexterity and precision plots of extreme ingenuity and intricacy."