A HOUSE OF GAMES

IN ARCADIA, TOM STOPPARD PLAYS WITH WORDS, CENTURIES AND THE LAWS OF ENTROPY TO PRODUCE A MAJOR DRAMATIC WORK

Were it not so faithful to its own artistic designs, you might suppose Tom Stoppard had written Arcadia expressly to refute his critics. Though having led something of a charmed professional life (he has been internationally acclaimed since his first produced play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, in 1967), the Czechoslovak-born playwright has not been spared his detractors, particularly in his adopted England.

We've been told Stoppard has no real subject but his own ingenuity. But with Arcadia he has taken on, dazzlingly, an expansive slew of topics: a young girl's dawning sexuality, the birth of Romanticism, modern academia, post-Newtonian physics....

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