Arcadia

  • by Tom Stoppard
  • Narrated by Kate Burton, Mark Capri, Jennifer Dundas, Gregory Itzin, Christopher Neame, Peter Paige, Douglas Weston
  • 2 hrs and 57 mins
  • Performance

Publisher's Summary

Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia merges science with human concerns and ideals, examining the universe’s influence in our everyday lives and ultimate fates through relationship between past and present, order and disorder and the certainty of knowledge. Set in an English country house in the year 1809-1812 and 1989, the play examines the lives of two modern scholars and the house's current residents with the lives of those who lived there 180 years earlier.
Includes an interview with Steven Strogatz, the author of Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos and professor at the Cornell University School of Theoretical and Applied Mathematics.
An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring:
Kate Burton as Hannah
Mark Capri as Chater
Jennifer Dundas as Thomasina
Gregory Itzin as Bernard Nightingale
David Manis as Cpt. Brice
Christopher Neame as Noakes and Jellaby
Peter Paige as Valentine
Darren Richardson as Augustus
Kate Steele as Chloe
Serena Scott Thomas as Lady Croom
Douglas Weston as Septimus
Directed by John Rubinstein. Recorded at the Invisible Studios, West Hollywood.
Arcadia is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Major funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to enhance public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.

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What the Critics Say

“Tom Stoppard’s richest, most ravishing comedy to date. A play of wit, intellect, language, brio and emotion,” and The Royal Institution of Great Britain calls it: “the best science book ever written.” ()The New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great production

This audible performance of Arcadia is very well acted and produced. My chief criteria for these audible plays are: (1) How closely does the performance stick to the script - i.e. have they omitted a significant portion of the dialog? (2) Sound quality: does it sound like they recorded a live stage performance with a microphone sitting on a corner of the stage, or was it recorded specifically for a listening audience? And do they use sound effects well?

On both accounts this is a high-quality production. It is also a charming, funny and intelligent play.
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- M. W. Roberts

'It's Wanting to Know That Makes Us Matter'

A better quote/title for any review of this play would be 'What We Let Fall,' but since that was the partial title of the research paper I wrote on Arcadia for a graduate seminar back in the day, I figured I'd choose another for this one play that has it all: "Pigeons! Sex! Literature! Life and Death!" Stoppard's finest play (and probably the only one that will withstand the test of time and do well in revivals a century hence), unfortunately HAS to be seen to be appreciated, however. This isn't like the other plays I've reviewed here, wherein even a newcomer to the play can understand and fully appreciate the action without actually seeing it. I still cried like a baby at the conclusion on my way home this evening, when it was revealed who the Hermit of Sidley Park was and what caused him to go mad, retreat to the hermitage, and spend the rest of his life trying to prove out the theorem of a teenaged prodigy...but to take just the most stunning stage example, I was able to see that final scene--where the couple from the present dance "fluently," while the couple from the past dance "awkwardly," to quote from stage directions a first-time listener would never know--only because I've read and seen this play performed multiple times. It's possible such a listener wouldn't even know what was going on, especially toward the end, when scenes from the present begin to alternate with scenes from the past so rapidly that eventually they share the same stage simultaneously.

Do yourself a favor: See the play, and/or have the printed book handy, before you listen to this title. If you do that, you're in for a real treat.

Extra value can be had by listening to the interview with the Chaos Theory scientist at the end...and also by noticing that the actor playing Septimus Hodge sounds more like Kenneth Branagh than anyone else you've ever heard besides Kenneth Branagh!!
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- Gretchen SLP

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-02-2010
  • Publisher: L.A. Theatre Works