By Janel Shoun on 2/11/2011
Lipscomb University’s artists-in-residence The Blackbird Theater presents Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, Feb. 25-27, March 4, 6, 11 and 12, in Shamblin Theatre. Tickets cost $20 and are on sale at the Lipscomb box office 615.966.7075.
Tom Stoppard is arguably the world's greatest living playwright, winner of an Academy Award and four Tony Awards. Arcadia is almost universally recognized as his masterpiece.
A rapturous and intellectually vigorous play about the nature of truth and time and the difference between the scientific and poetic mind, Arcadia moves back and forth between two time periods (1809 and 1995) and two fascinating sets of characters sharing the same country house. It's a clever mystery, a lovely romance and a delicate waltz of grand ideas.
The last time Arcadia was performed in Nashville was 1999. Since that time, Arcadia's reputation has grown exponentially with recent high profile productions in London and Washington D.C. It has become increasingly acclaimed and celebrated and is now often considered one of the great plays of the last fifty years: “Tom Stoppard's richest, most ravishing comedy to date, a play of wit, intellect, language, brio and, new for him, emotion,” (New York Times).
In the Independent in May of 2009, critic Johann Hari suggests that Arcadia “is perhaps the greatest play of its time.” He writes: “Stoppard compresses so many ideas and guffaws and griefs into less than three hours that any attempt at a summary of the play will sound paradoxical. It is an English country-house farce about the death of the universe. It is a laugh-filled tragedy about what happens if you take the intoxicants of poetry and science seriously. It is a play where Stoppard turns himself into a clown whose juggling balls are Romanticism, Classicism, and the meaning of life.”
“When we were given the opportunity to start our own theater company there was little doubt Arcadia would be one of our first shows. It certainly fulfilled our mission for doing smart, sophisticated, yet thoroughly entertaining theater,” said Wes Driver, one of the Blackbird Theater’s founders. “But we knew we couldn’t rest on the script alone. To pull off an effective production, we had to assemble a cast and crew worthy of the script’s intelligence, emotion, and humor. I’m proud and thrilled to say I really think we’ve done that. From director Ted Swindley to actors such as Denice Hicks, David Compton, and Jeff Boyet, it’s a stellar group, all up for the challenge.”