Written by Tom Stoppard
Directed by Kristen Underwood
Center for the Arts: Jewel Theatre
May 1-4, 2013
Premiered in 1993, Arcadia is set in Sidley Park, a fictional country estate, and moves back and forth between 1809 and the present. The residents of Sidley Park in 1809 include 13 year-old Thomasina, her tutor Septimus, her commanding mother Lady Croom, and an assortment of other residents and visitors, including "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" Lord Byron. In alternating scenes, the 21st century descendants of the 19th century family entertain two rival researchers who are visiting Sidley Park to piece together the puzzles of the past.
Tom Stoppard is said to have been inspired to write the play after reading the best-selling "Chaos" by James Gleick, and the play swirls with references to Newtonian physics, mathematics, and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (did a 13 year-old country girl discover it first?). But Arcadia also delves into landscape architecture, Romantic poetry, and the nature of time, juxtaposing past and present, art and science, order and disorder, in a witty and exhilarating evening of theatre.