Before I saw Arcadia, I wasn’t very familiar with Stoppard’s work. I had studied him in school, sure, and I’d seen Rough Crossing at least twice as well. But I wasn’t familiar with the wide scope of his work, and I didn’t know what to expect when I saw Arcadia.
And that’s what made it such a treat. SUCH a treat. It’s a funny, profound, sophisticated play, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously either. It covers a broad range of topics: landscape, science, calculus, sex, popular poetry, and it gracefully and unpretentiously moves between modern times and the 1810s.
As you might imagine, pulling off a funny, intellectual play that spans and incorporates two different time periods is no small task. Fortunately, the Broadway cast and director, David Leveaux, are well up to it. I was particularly impressed with Bel Powley–for a 19 year-old actress to keep up with Broadway greats like Raul Esparza and Billy Crudup is no small achievement, and she was at no point outshone.
I could go on and on, but I’d hate to spoil anything, because this is one you should just go see. Really.
Are you still reading this? Shouldn’t you be ordering your tickets about now? See it!