Now playing at the Barrymore Theatre on Broadway.
I’m sure many playwrights could write a play ostensibly about music or dance or poetry that’s ultimately about love and lust. The arts lend themselves to such things. Using some sort of inherently dramatic field like politics or war or religion as a conduit wouldn’t be too difficult either. But it takes someone like Tom Stoppard to bring out the passion in mathematics and theoretical physics. Arcadia is impressive simply for that achievement.
And honestly, were it not for that unlikely alchemy, Arcadia is the kind of hyperliterate play that easily could have been impressive but not particularly loveable. The subject matter sounds so dry, the structure so highly composed, that one could be forgiven for expecting something a bit cold and airless, but Stoppard finds a way to make it just the opposite. Arcadia somehow lives up to its blissful, verdant name.