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Arcadia - Full Length Play, Comedy


Tom Stoppard

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Full Length Play, Comedy

8m, 4f

ISBN: 9780573695667

Winner! 1995 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play
Winner! 1994 Olivier Award for Best Play

"Pure entertainment for the heart, mind, soul...The best Broadway play for many, many a season. It is a work shot through with fun, passio…

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Minimum Fee: $100 per performance


Full Length Play


Time Period - Present Day, Victorian (British and American)

Settings Of Play - Sidley Park, an English country house.


Period Costumes


Olivier, From West End

Winner! 1995 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play
Winner! 1994 Olivier Award for Best Play
Arcadia moves back and forth between 1809 and the present at the elegant estate owned by the Coverly family. The 1809 scenes reveal a household in transition. As the Arcadian landscape is being transformed into picturesque Gothic gardens, complete with a hermitage, thirteen year-old Lady Thomasina and her tutor delve into intellectual and romantic issues. Present day scenes depict the Coverly descendants and two competing scholars who are researching a possible scandal at the estate in 1809 involving Lord Byron. This brilliant play moves smoothly between the centuries and explores the nature of truth and time, the difference between classical and romantic temperaments, and the disruptive influence of sex on our life orbits the attraction Newton left out.
"Pure entertainment for the heart, mind, soul...The best Broadway play for many, many a season. It is a work shot through with fun, passion and, yes, genius." - The New York Post

"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... The playwright is a daredevil pilot who's steady at the controls." - The New York Times

"Full of complex ideas and pleasures one expects from this master of dramatic composition." - Time Out New York

"A dazzling exposition of epigrammatic wit." - Daily Express

Arcadia first opened at the Royal National Theatre in London on 13 April 1993.


8m, 4f

THOMASINA COVERLY - aged thirteen, later sixteen
SEPTIMUS HODGE - her tutor, aged twenty-two, later twenty-five
JELLABY - a butler, middle-aged
EZRA CHATER - a poet, aged thirty-one
RICHARD NOAKES - a landscape architect, middle-aged
LADY CROOM - middle thirties
CAPT. BRICE, RN - middle thirties
HANNAH JARVIS - an author, late thirties
CHLOË COVERLY - aged eighteen
BERNARD NIGHTINGALE - a don, late thirties
VALENTINE COVERLY - aged twenty-five to thirty
GUS COVERLY - aged fifteen
AUGUSTUS COVERLY - aged fifteen
Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard’s most recent play, The Hard Problem, opened at the National Theatre in 2015. He wrote his first play, Enter a Free Man, whilst working as a journalist in Bristol. His plays include Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, The Real Inspector Hound, After Magritte, Jumpers, Travesties, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (a play for actors and orchestra written with André Previn), Night and ... view full profile

Now Playing
Benjamin Ismail 5/8/2014 6:57 PM
Amanda Healy 4/23/2013 5:22 PM
"Arcadia" is an old favorite of mine because it deals with a theme that has always had a special place in my heart. One of the characteristics of the human condition that I find most fascinating is our obsession with the past- a quality of which I myself am far from exempt. A perfect example of this is this intrinsic feeling of profundity that I get when walking in places that others have before me, hundreds and hundreds of years in the past. For some reason Europe always feels especially haunted and I wonder about the ghosts that have trod on the exact spot I'm standing- how they effected the terrain...how they effected even perhaps the course of my own life. This is the world in which "Arcadia" unfolds. In addition to Tom Stoppard's trademark brilliant witticisms, "Arcadia" is fantastic if nothing else for a climactic scene near the play's end, when ghosts of the past literally intermingle with ghosts of the present before our eyes- lost knowledge is suddenly galvanized into the light. I get chills just remembering that scene. It's beautiful and sad and profound and magical. You leave this play with your scope of the universe and time - and your own place in the formula - fired up and ready for exploration.

One final note- this play is a rare case where you benefit greatly from both a reading and a viewing. Stoppard's plays are always dialogue-heavy and it's often easy to miss the numerous brilliant lines as actors fire them off in rapid succession. However, if you are able to catch them in performance, they also manage to open up the play that much more for you...For everything else, a supplemental reading will prove just as delightful and enlightening.
Rachel Lucas 4/22/2013 7:24 PM
Arcadia goes back and forth between 1809 and the present, the stories of both sets of characters weaving seamlessly in and out of each other. Stoppard has filled this play to the brim with the history of gardening, Byron, hunting and more. In between all of that history, there are threads of math and the concept of chaos theory. Even though that sounds like a mouthful, the play is still hilarious with some very touching moments. The characters in both time periods run around a big old country house asking questions about an ancient duel between poets and about “what happens in a cup of coffee when the cream goes in.” Stoppard’s renowned stunning language and biting wit runs through out the play. The importance of the search for knowledge in our short lives and also the importance of love are explored through the hilarious mischief the characters get up to in both 1809 and the present.

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