On the Verge Reading of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia


Contributed by Claire Gleitman

On Thursday, December 1st, at 7:00 p.m. in the Handwerker Gallery, the "On the Verge" reading series will present a staged reading of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, featuring performances by Ithaca College students and faculty members (including Jim Swafford, Michael Twomey and Krista Scott) and directed by English department faculty member Claire Gleitman.

Tom Stoppard is the well-known author of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Travesties, as well as one of the screenwriters for Shakespeare in Love. Arcadia, written in 1993, is about the attempts of a British literary historian to solve the mystery of the poet Lord Byron's abrupt departure for the Continent in 1809 -- a departure whose motives are unknown but which this scholar believes he has identified definitively.

Since this is a play by Tom Stoppard, it is about many other things as well, including the conflict between Classicism and Romanticism, the second law of thermodynamics, chaos theory, iterated algorithms, landscape architecture in the 19th century, and, naturally, sex. Stoppard has a great deal of fun ridiculing academics of varying stripes, while displaying a deep appreciation for the more serious aspects of the work that they do.