Beaumont Theater

ARCADIA has the brain-tingling mixture of language, literature, science and history one expects from playwright Tom Stoppard, but this very funny and sexy new play aimed for the heart as well as the head. Although it offered much to occupy your mind—exploring the nature of truth and time, the difference between the Classical and Romantic temperament, and the physics of physical attraction—you were just as likely to leave the theater talking about ARCADIA's haunting, romantic finale. The play moves back and forth between two time periods (1809 and the present) at an elegant English country estate owned by the aristocratic Coverly family. The 1809 half of the story reveals a household in transition, as the estate's Arcadian landscape is being re-done in the 'picturesque' Gothic style of the day, and as the brilliant 13-year-old Thomasina Coverly is fast becoming a woman, with the help of her tutor, Septimus Hodge. The present-day half depicts the Coverlys' descendants and two competing scholars –Hannah Jarvis and Bernard Nightingale—who are researching what happened at the estate in 1809, including a scandal involving the poet Lord Byron.