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March 20, 2011

Top Stoppard’s play Arcadia is now in its second run on Broadway.  Set in one room of a fictional English country house, Sidley Park, the play alternates between action in the early 19th century and the late 20th century.  The 19th century main characters are a tutor and his pupil, with appearances by family members, servants, country house guests, and a landscape gardener fashioned after Humphry Repton.  The smart dialog touches on mathematics, garden reconstructions, garden hermits, country house visiting, and hunting.  Characters enter from and exit to the garden via french doors through which one sees only blue sky and hears the crunch of footsteps on gravel.  All of the action that provides fodder for discussion happens in the garden–the Arcadia, but the garden is only seen in representation in a Reptonesque flip book.   The 20th century characters consist of descendants of the 19th century house owners, and two academics.  Both the descendants and the academics are using the actions of the 19th century characters as their topics of academic study.  For these characters though, it’s more the books describing what happened in the 19th century garden at Sidley Park, than interaction with the present day garden, that is their focus of conversation.  Make a point of seeing this play.


From → Film and Theater

One Comment
  1. Warren Ashworth permalink

    This is one of the absolute best plays I have ever read and am desperate to see it. Thanks for the mis-en-scene and encouragement to go.

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