Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tom Stoppard's Arcadia
Dave and I went to NYC Tuesday to see Tom Stoppard's Arcadia at the Barrymore theater. It was phenomenal, but I can see how it would appeal to certain type of theater crowd. The entire first half I felt like my mind was crowded with so many ideas from algorithms to theories of heat to sexual escapades and poetry that I wasn't sure what to think. Stoppard somehow cleverly weaves all of his disparate threads together, and he is not only witty but extremely charming in his ultimate plan. His characters are romantics even as they throw around their banter and their academic theorems. In the end, they are vulnerable to the whimsy of their hearts, and I think that is what makes his play so interesting. He can be completely cerebral without losing that human vulnerability. It was a wonderful experience; I got goosebumps listening to the characters talk about the "march of life" in which we don't get to reach the end, but the march continues without us so that nothing is lost. Someone will pick up what we leave behind in much the same way that we pick up what is left to us. And the talk on the triviality of the experiment or the writing or any project in relation to the passion to do it while we are here and alive. Stoppard is truly a poet in his ability to capture that struggle to create, that urgent draw to engage in creating art (for what purpose?); he so wonderfully elucidates what is important.