After last year’s acclaimed production of King Lear, TTC has chosen another classic play to fill its prestigious autumn slot – but instead of tragedy, Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia is a brilliant, scintillating comedy, sparkling with his characteristic wit and intellectual fireworks. It won multiple awards and was acclaimed as a masterpiece when it was first produced, and it’s easy to see why! Elegantly structured, erudite, hilarious and with a poignant love story at its heart, Arcadia balances intellect and emotion, ideas and drama, and laugh-aloud comedy with the faintest breath of melancholy. The result is an extraordinary, touching, delightful play.
In a grand country house at the beginning of the nineteenth century, a young girl and her tutor study algebra, Latin and art while sexual intrigue erupts around them. A complex drama unfolds, involving passion, duels, intercepted letters and some very extreme gardening; while, in the modern day, a flamboyant professor arrives in the same country house – upsetting the research of another academic – ransacks the library, seduces the daughter of the master of the house and generally makes a nuisance of himself. In the past, the household is disrupted by a fast-paced, furiously comic scandal; in the present, the characters vie and argue with one another, trying to unravel what exactly happened. As the two stories echo and reflect each other, life, love, maths and literature mingle to create a heady mix of poetry, chaos theory and – of course – sex: ‘the attraction that Newton left out’.
Called ‘a supreme play of ideas’, ‘wrenchingly beautiful’ and ‘perhaps the greatest play of its time’, Arcadia is a must-see tour de force of playwriting.
Arcadia will be showing at Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, from Tuesday 23rd to Saturday 27th October, with a matinee on Saturday. Tickets can be booked via www.trinitytheatre.net or by contacting the box office on 01892 678678.