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Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
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Arcadia (1993)

by Tom Stoppard

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1,864393,709 (4.4)113
  1. 00
    Copenhagen by Michael Frayn (Jannes)
    Jannes: Science, the exploration of the unknown in the universe, explaining life through mathematical concepts, and the uncertainty of the past. These two plays have a lot in common, and are both equally brilliant.
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English (34)  French (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (39)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
I was assigned this for a class, and as soon as the teacher said chaos theory", I groaned--I pictured myself slogging through pages of boring technobabble, barely able to follow the play at all. Turns out I needn't have feared--not only does Arcadia make chaos theory approachable, but the play is so interesting and insightful that I found myself devouring it in a sitting. It flips back and forth between the past and present, showing events unfolding in the 19th century, then how researchers are piecing them together a century later. This isn't a format that feels like it should work, but it mostly does. Rather then feeling like you're simply retreading the same ground over and over again, the new perspectives help breathe life into the other scenes. I said "mostly", and that's in part because I thought a couple of the 19th century scenes could have been abbreviated...but more importantly, I found it a little harder to connect with the modern characters and their work--I didn't find those characters quite as well-drawn as the 19th century ones, and while I was interested in what their half of the play said about our understanding of history, I just didn't find them as interesting as their "past" counterparts. But that's actually a pretty minor quibble given Arcadia's quality. It's not for everyone, but I loved reading it, loved seeing it performed, and look forward to seeing it again." ( )
  Jeslieness | Jan 28, 2016 |
2
  kutheatre | Jun 7, 2015 |
A fascinating play intertwining two timelines centuries apart. In the end, I felt like some of it went over my head, but it was still very interesting. Stoppard pulled all the stops (haha, you see?): some chaos theory, determinism vs. free will, physics, love, sex, thermodynamics, Lord Byron, poetry, classicism vs. romanticism, the end of the universe. ( )
1 vote IsaboeOfLumatere | Jan 14, 2015 |
Arcadia takes us back and forth between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ranging over the nature of truth and time, the difference between the Classical and the Romantic temperament, and the disruptive influence of sex on our orbits in life. Focusing on the mysteries—romantic, scientific, literary—that engage the minds and hearts of characters whose passions and lives intersect across scientific planes and centuries, it is “Stoppard’s richest, most ravishing comedy to date, a play of wit, intellect, language, brio and . . . emotion. It’s like a dream of levitation: you’re instantaneously aloft, soaring, banking, doing loop-the-loops and then, when you think you’re about to plummet to earth, swooping to a gentle touchdown of not easily described sweetness and sorrow . . . Exhilarating” ( )
  MarkBeronte | Mar 4, 2014 |
Elegant, clever, and entertaining. Stoppard hangs plenty of guns on the wall that are later fired in ways that are satisfying, unexpected yet inevitable.

Also, new time travel goal: go back to see Bill Nighy as Nightingale in the original London cast. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
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A room on the garden front of a very large country house in Derbyshire in April 1809.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571169341, Paperback)

Arcadia takes us back and forth between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ranging over the nature of truth and time, the difference between the Classical and the Romantic temperament, and the disruptive influence of sex on our orbits in life. Focusing on the mysteries—romantic, scientific, literary—that engage the minds and hearts of characters whose passions and lives intersect across scientific planes and centuries, it is “Stoppard’s richest, most ravishing comedy to date, a play of wit, intellect, language, brio and . . . emotion. It’s like a dream of levitation: you’re instantaneously aloft, soaring, banking, doing loop-the-loops and then, when you think you’re about to plummet to earth, swooping to a gentle touchdown of not easily described sweetness and sorrow . . . Exhilarating” (Vincent Canby, The New York Times).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:40 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"In a large country house in Derbyshire in April 1809 sit Lady Thomasina Coverly, aged thirteen, and her tutor, Septimus Hodge. Through the window may be seen some of the '500 acres inclusive of lake' where Capability Brown's idealized landscape is about to give way to the 'picturesque' Gothic style: 'everything but vampires', as the garden historian Hannah Jarvis remarks in the same room 180 years later to Bernard Nightingale - who has arrived to uncover the scandal said to have taken place when Lord Byron stayed at Sidley Park. Tom Stoppard's absorbing play takes us back and forth between the centuries and explores the nature of truth and time, the difference between the Classical and the Romantic temperament, and the disruptive influence of sex on our orbits in life - 'the attraction which Newton left out'." -- Back cover.… (more)

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