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Arcadia

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fosca3
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Arcadia#1
Posted: 5/25/11 at 7:43am
I had to leave Arcadia this past weekend, at intermission, because of a raging migraine. Could anyone please PM me with how it all turned out?

And as silly as it may sound -- did the turtle eventually figure into the story at all? I was really curious what he was doing there, if he was at all important

Thanks so much
You don't go to the dragon without a present - Mark Rylance
wonkit
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Arcadia#2
Posted: 5/25/11 at 10:08am
I don't know if it is practical for you to return and see another performance, but there are deep discounts available for the play's last 4 weeks. The second act is so extraordinary. And yes, Plautus is important.
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luvtheEmcee
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Arcadia#2
Posted: 5/25/11 at 12:34pm
I don't know if this is an option if you didn't speak to the house manager when you were there, but I wonder if you could contact him and see about getting in for the second act at some point? If I remember correctly, people have done things like this before, but I also think it entailed speaking with the house manager when they had to leave.

Anyway, the play is published, and if you can't get back to the theater, I think reading the second act would be much more satisfying than having someone send you a paragraph-long synopsis!
A work of art is an invitation to love.
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aliceidinabernadette
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Arcadia#4
Posted: 5/25/11 at 5:03pm
The second act is phenomenal, as others have said. I'm with the group that suggests finding a way to see the second act, or even the whole show again with a discount? Much preferable that having someone explain it, or even just reading the play, because a lot of the ending is very visual.
Give me a bottle of bourbon and half a chicken and I'll conquer the world!
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theatrepaul
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Arcadia#5
Posted: 5/25/11 at 6:55pm
You should definitely see the whole play so that it makes total sense. Believe me its worth it!!
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Weez
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Arcadia#6
Posted: 5/26/11 at 5:33am
Tortoise, dude. Plautus is a tortoise. :P
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SoonerOrLater
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Arcadia#7
Posted: 5/26/11 at 7:02am
Ah the Tortoise! The National Theatre in the UK features the Tortoise from Arcadia on it's tour at the props table!

(Sorry I realise this is no help to your problem, I'd recomend reading the play or trying to see Act2 as we wont do it justice here!)
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nomdeplume
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Arcadia#7
Posted: 6/17/11 at 5:43pm
Spoiler Questions

I don't have a copy of the play available and wonder if someone knowledgeable on the play would be so kind as to clear these questions up that I have after seeing the show?

1. Was the gamekeeper attributing the tutor's shot hare to Lord Byron indicative that the tutor and Byron looked alike, or at least that the game keeper (I couldn't remember in the second half whether it had been the "gardener") confused the identity of the tutor with Byron concerning the coupling with the lady of the manor in the garden in the first act?

2. Did the "romance" between tutor and daughter toward the end and his warning her to be careful with the candle she was taking to the cottage out back to lead to our understanding of the means of her tragic death by fire in the cottage and his subsequent becoming a mad hermit living on in that cottage and writing volumes of nonsense from his grief?

3. Was the woman prof/academic in the second half supposed to have been descended of Byron? I didn't catch any innuendo of that beyond the ancestral coupling in the garden.

4. I didn't catch a significance for the tortoise beyond family pet status and the fact that a tortoise can live a long, long life which could straddle between generations, and the metaphor that the tortoise here beat the rabbit in the race of life since the hare was shot. If there is more, please do tell.
Updated On: 6/17/11 at 05:43 PM
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pinoyidol2006
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Arcadia#8
Posted: 6/17/11 at 6:04pm
I must ask if this production was a good one? I've only seen two Stoppard plays (not in Broadway) and loved them.
I like your imperturbable perspicacity.
stone_blue
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Arcadia#9
Posted: 6/17/11 at 6:45pm
@nondeplume, I also don't have the book handy but I think the following is mostly correct if incomplete. Spoilers, natch.

1. There are two rabbits/hares. The first is recorded in the game book as having been shot by Lord Byron, which is disputed by Augustus in the past, but which serves as proof that Byron was at Sidley Park in the present. The second was killed by Septimus the morning the duel was scheduled for, presumably because he had pistols but no other target and Thomasina liked rabbit pie.

2. Septimus does remain in the cottage in some form of insane grief after Thomasina's death, but I don't think it's ever implied that she died in the cottage. I always assumed she fell asleep with the candle still lit waiting for Septimus to come to her room, and died in an ensuing fire.

3. No indications to Hannah being descended from Byron. Her connection is in writing about Byron's mistress, Lady Caroline, who had no grandchildren and so cannot be Hannah's ancestor. Bernard is the Byron scholar.

4. Plautus is the final link that proves Septimus is the hermit of Sidley Park. Bernard finds a book with a description of Sidley Park that also mentions the hermit and his pet tortoise, Plautus. At the end, Gus gives Hannah the picture Thomasina had drawn and captioned of Septimus and Plautus.
nomdeplume
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Arcadia#10
Posted: 6/17/11 at 10:13pm
Thanks, stone_blue.

I've been reading several synopses of Arcadia which helped review parts of the text. Those Stoppard plays are so talky you can't catch it all. I was forgetting that the Chaters were just visitors and Mrs. Chater never appears so I confused her for Lady Croom, who I still assume is Thomasina's mother.

So after all that, as to

1. I think you are right that there were two hares and it just proves Byron was there. Thomasina may have some line about liking the rabbit after she ate it which is also why Septimus shoots the rabbit when the duel is called off. Mrs. Chater goes through Septimus and Byron. Mrs.Croom kicks her out and she and Mr. Chater leave for the high seas with Captain Brice (a Coverly and brother to Croom?) whom she marries after her husband dies.

2. I think you are right here, too. I think Septimus is trying to complete Thomasina's equations to finish her theory, and since it really takes a computer to do it, he'd have to be mad to attempt it as we learn from Valentine Coverly in the modern era. And the cottage was planned but not built yet. In the modern era I believe it was said that part of the hermitage had burned, an upstairs room? Maybe implying a parallel fire to Thomasina's caused by ther hermit Septimus later on.

3. Since Croom had no affair with Byron, her Coverly descendants could be no relation and Hannah is not a Coverly, just the scholar.

4. You are right. Also, when Gus gives Hannah the drawing and they dance, I did not realize the visual parallel that they could be attracted similar to the attraction of Septimus dancing with his pupil Thomasina.

The play is enough to drive you to distraction on one hearing given all the different science and math theories and the parallels Stoppard has jammed into it. Not that it isn't brilliant, but so much of the "action" is intellectual. Copenhagen was a cakewalk in comparison. At least in Copenhagen the actors walked around the stage to demonstrate the atomic physics to give visuals.
Updated On: 6/19/11 at 10:13 PM
wonkit
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Arcadia#11
Posted: 6/18/11 at 12:39am
1. Captain Brice is brother to Lady Croom and therefore not a Coverly but only an in-law.

2. Thomasina's room in SIdley Park is in the house proper, not the hermit's cottage which is described as stone, two rooms, slate roof. They make a bonfire of the hermit's papers, but I don't believe there is any indication of a building fire there.

3. Hannah is not a Coverly - she gets the family's permission to study the hermit and help Lady Croom study the history of her garden.

4. Gus is in love with Hannah - Chloe says so in Act One. The picture substantiates Hannah's theory that the hermit is Septimus.

ARCADIA is so much more than the sum of its parts. I am sorry you did not get to experience Act Two.
nomdeplume
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Arcadia#12
Posted: 6/18/11 at 1:12am
I saw Act II, wonkit. Another poster above had not seen it.

Thanks for taking the time to go over details!
wonkit
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Arcadia#13
Posted: 6/18/11 at 8:15am
Thanks, nom - I meant the last comment for OP but was not explicit. You clearly know the play very well indeed. I adore it, too. I think it is one of the few plays (including Shakespeare) that I could see seven times a week and not tire of. I am no actress, but my fantasy would be to play Hannah -
wonkit
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Arcadia#14
Posted: 6/19/11 at 11:40am
So today is farewell to Sidley Park. I am sorry to see this run end, and I have enjoyed many happy hours watching Stoppard's magic being played out onstage. Best wishes to all involved!
nomdeplume
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Arcadia#15
Posted: 6/19/11 at 5:19pm
I've been thinking about the rabbit/tortoise analogies in the play. The mathematical method of Septimus proceeds at tortoise pace in relation to the hare-like speed of the computer.

Also, Thomasina is like the hare in her rapid grasp of complex math and thinking up new formula (and likes rabbit soup) plus has a quick life while Septimus, like the tortoise, is slower, plodding through her equation over many years and lives much longer.

The slow tortoise and the rapid computer lying on the same table in the second act.

But what is the significance of the young boy Augustus Coverly becoming mute at the age of five? Are we to try to deduce a psychological or other reason from the given text?
Updated On: 6/19/11 at 05:19 PM
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luvtheEmcee
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Arcadia#16
Posted: 6/19/11 at 5:29pm
Thomasina also says something about her rabbit graph, and Septimus says he sees no resemblance to a rabbit. Thomasina replies that it eats its own progeny -- that's the graph that Valentine is referring to when he explains to Hannah that she was feeding her y values back in for x.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
nomdeplume
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Arcadia#17
Posted: 6/20/11 at 5:31pm
And a mathematical "random matrix theory" may have just helped solve the puzzle of AIDS/HIV...
Scientists Find an Achilles' Heel in AIDS Virus
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Yero my Hero
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Arcadia#18
Posted: 6/20/11 at 5:48pm
I adored this play. I went back to see it the last week and was just as enthralled as the first time.

In college I was a math major and a theater minor (odd combination, I know). I spent one summer doing a research project with my professor on chaos theory and mathematical modelling of natural phenomena -- exactly what they discuss in the play. It was like the perfect combination of my two passions, and I just loved it.
Nothing matters but knowing nothing matters. ~ Wicked
Everything in life is only for now. ~ Avenue Q
There is no future, there is no past. I live this moment as my last. ~ Rent

"He's a tramp, but I love him."
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Arcadia#19
Posted: 6/20/11 at 7:48pm
Arcadia has always been one of our absolute favorite plays, so it's sad to see the latest production close with so little sense of mourning. Our love for the script goes back to the first American production at Lincoln Center back in the 90's (with Billy Crudup brilliant as Septimus), followed by a successful chamber-scaled presentation starring Kate Burton at the Taper in LA. We caught the present revival last December and were so glad to revisit our old friend.

It's true the casting was very uneven, with lovely portrayals of many of the secondary characters, but frankly weaker, less convincing turns by most of the leads (Billy Crudup sadly included). Still a great many lovely choices by Leveaux and his design team-- we loved the bleached-out simplicity of that delicate set that allowed the richness of the words to sing so well-- left us so much to sift through and analyze for days after the curtain had come down.

Thankyou to all the posters above who have helped untangle some of the many mysteries we've always wrestled with on this show. Even an imperfect revival of this overstuffed play leaves us so sated in a way that few plays on Broadway ever do.