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Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
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Arcadia (1993)

by Tom Stoppard

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English (32)  French (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (37)
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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 |
I read Arcadia at the suggestion of someone whose opinion, especially on plays, I trust, and she certainly did not let me down with this funny little play that brings together algebra, sex, and chaos theory.

First, I must say that the dramatization I listened to of Arcadia was quite well done. I enjoyed listening to the performance rather than reading it on the page because it was a new experience for me. Had I listened to other plays, I might have enjoyed them even more. The voicing of the characters allowed for easy distinguishing of which time period was being focused on at that point in the play, and when they began to blend by the end, the voices were quite helpful. Text might have intruded on that for me.

The story is told of two sets of characters from two different time periods - the modern day characters were sort of investigating the past ones, so you got both sides of the story as the play switched from past to present and back again. I enjoyed hearing how the present characters judged and interpreted the past characters. I did find myself a little confused as to who was who as I went through the play, but I was usually able to right myself fairly quickly.

The play had plenty of humor, but it had a lot of one-liners and witty jibes rather than something more slapstick. I was very pleased with the humor in it. However, sometimes if I laughed too loudly, I would miss the next bit and have to go back - the humor rolled easily into the next lines so that if you weren't keen, you could miss it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this play, and even more, I think, because I listened to a dramatization of it rather than reading straight text. ( )
1 vote Esquiress | Jun 14, 2013 |
abfab!
  Tiesenhausen | Jun 11, 2013 |
This play is not a consistently funny as some of Stoppard's other works, but it definitely has its share of quotable one-liners. Some daring moves in staging, such as the overlap between the present and the past, which eventually reaches the point of having the two time periods represented on stage simultaneously, side by side at the table that remains a constant link between the characters. It is a look at science and literature; how does science discover the things it does? How does literature overlap with science? What constitutes evidence? (Though this last might be a bit subtle in places). It also looks at the question of what happened to the enlightenment, as the characters move through the changes leading from enlightenment thinking to romanticism. As usual when Stoppard assays science, he does it right, though it's often more in the mathematical and statistical realms that he wanders. His intellectuals also aren't cardboard cutouts, moving through the play without feeling, total logic suppressing the emotions they are assumed not to possess. They are real people, with all the roiling, burning emotions of real people, and able to be hurt in love and life just like everyone else. ( )
1 vote quantum_flapdoodle | Apr 27, 2013 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:06 -0400)

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"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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