ARCADIA by abstraks


                   a Philadelphia premiere
                   by Tom Stoppard
                   directed by Jiri Zizka
                   December 26, 1996 - January 26, 1997

                   Our first production in our new home on the Avenue of the Arts! Part mystery, part love
                   story, leaping deftly backward and forward in time, ARCADIA is the richest, most ravishing
                   comedy of the brilliant author of TRAVESTIES, THE REAL THING, and ROSENCRANTZ
                   AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD. Time Magazine's Best Play of 1995.

                         post your review | news release | Tom Stoppard interview

                      "ARCADIA exhilarates at Wilma's inaugural... Tom Stoppard's
supremely funny play bursts with wit and ideas. The production has a warmth and
amplitude that couldn't have been achieved in the company's old home on Sansom
Street. If a better play has been written in the last couple of decades, I have not
seen it." -Cliff Ridley, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/6/1997

" bold as their neon beacon... Zizka clearly understands the production and, like
Stoppard, never doubts for a moment that we will as well. In addition, his direction
of the work is quiet as it is seamless. The play's voice will surely linger in your ear
long after you have left Stoppard's Arcadia and returned to your own." -Wendy
Rosenfield, Philadelphia Weekly, 1/8/1997

"Gorgeous to look at, entertaining to listen to, intellectually demanding and emotionally sastisfying. One of
                                         the masterworks of the 20th century. Hail, Arcadia!" -Toby Zinman,
                                         Philadelphia City Paper, 1/9/1997

                                       "It's wonderful. There was moreover, a sense of space, of volume, not
                                       cold and empty, but filled with...excitement, with sound, with humanity.
                                       Theater had come home in Philadelphia." -Cary M. Mazer,
                                       Philadelphia City Paper, 1/9/1997

                                       "The Wilma is now Philadelphia's most visible theater." -Steve Cohen,
                                       Philadelphia Forum, 1/3/1997

                                       "ARCADIA sparkles at the new Wilma Theater." -Brian Caffal,
Philadelphia Gay News, 1/16/1997

"...And if future productions prove to be as exquisite as this inaugural mounting of what may be Stoppard's
masterpiece, regional theatergoers have reason to celebrate ...all pieces of Stoppard's puzzle fall into place
with an inevitability that challenges the mind as it breaks the heart. The production's design team - David P.
Gordon (set), Jerold. R. Forsyth (lighting) and Janus Stefanowicz (costumes) could not be bettered, creating
nuances of character and mood with splashes of color and light, mist and shadow." -George Hatza, Reading
Eagle, 1/12/1997

                                       THE PRODUCTION TEAM
                       Director                                                   Jiri Zizka
                       Set Designer                                       David P. Gordon
                       Lighting Designer                                 Jerold R. Forsyth
                       Costume Designer                                 Janus Stefanowicz
                       Composer/Sound Designer                              Adam Wernick

                                                  THE CAST
                                             (in order of appearance)
              Thomasina Coverly                                                          Maggie Siff
              Septimus Hodge                                                               Ian Kahn
              Jellaby                                                            Bayard Walker, Jr.
              Ezra Chater                                                          Anthony Lawton
              Richard Noakes                                                      Harry Philibosian
              Lady Croom                                                            Alison Edwards
              Captain Brice, RN                                                        Joe Guzmán
              Hannah Jarvis                                                        Maryann Urbano
              Chloë Coverly                                                          Hannah Dalton
              Bernard Nightingale                                                     David Bishins
              Valentine Coverly                                                      Donald Carrier
              Gus Coverly/Augustus Coverly                                          Michael Burnett

                          You don't have to be as smart as the author of ARCADIA to love his latest work.
                          Written by Michael Hollinger

                          Tom Stoppard is to dramaturgs what Byron is to certain English literary scholars: he
                          gives us a purpose in life. For a profession whose work is largely unseen by the
                          audience apart from our program notes, Stoppard's plays allow dramaturgs to delve
                          into history, assimilate scientific writings, assemble sundry scraps of information,
                          and encourage audiences to trace the author's path of inquiry and discovery. One
                          of our primary jobs becomes making the world of the play -- its chronology, its
                          geography, and its web of ideas -- accessible to the production team as well as the
                          audience. Anyone who recalls Janet Finegar's lovingly prepared Open Stages for
                          our 1994 production of TRAVESTIES (which juxtaposed Lenin, Joyce, dadaism,
                          and THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST) will understand Stoppard's
                          particular appeal to dramaturgs.

With ARCADIA, this most eclectic of playwrights has again delved into diverse subjects: Byron, botany,
landscape architecture, chaos mathematics, and the romantic and classical temperaments, among others. In
addition to the notes presented here, my associate dramaturgs assembled countless pages of definitions,
biographical information, maps, photos, diagrams, etc. This exhaustive attention to particulars is invaluable
to ARCADIA's actors and director, who must understand every inch of the play; for an audience, however, it
surely would be -- in the language of landscape architecture -- to fail to see the garden for the trees.

Like ARCADIA, most good writing is rich in detail. (Consider Shakespeare's variegated references to flora,
fauna, music, and mythology.) Often these details flash by in a syllable or two, and serve as much to give
texture to the world of the play as to inform. In ARCADIA, for example, does the audience really need to
know what the Linnean Society did, who Joseph Banks was, or that Beau Brummel originated the practice of
tying a cravat? I think not. And providing a glossary of minutia would only give the impression that the play is
a collection of facts to be memorized for a quiz in the lobby after the show.
          When we first selected ARCADIA to open the new Wilma, some subscibers expressed trepidation:
          "Isn't that the one with all the science? I flunked physics in seventh grade..." Fear not. ARCADIA is
          not about chaos theory, or landscape architecture, or even Byron. It's about people, and is both a
          love story (or two) and a mystery (or several). The biggest questions are those that have driven
          most Western theater for the last few millennia: "How will it all work out? Will these people get what
          they want?" And yes, there are samplings of great ideas, some of which we've elaborated upon

The notes comprise excerpted articles by area experts, passages from books, and a few extracts from the
program notes of the original London production. For those who want to find out more, we'll be happy to
point you in the right directions; for those who don't, simply enjoy the play. And rest assured -- there will be
no quiz in the lobby.


Stoppard bases his character, Richard "Capability" Noakes, upon two of the best know of English landscape
gardeners: the name puns on that of Lancelot "Capability" Brown (1715-1783), so nicknamed for his habit of
pronouncing a client's acres as having "capabilities," i.e., scope for improvement. Noakes' method of
showing the changes he proposes in the layout of the gardens and parklands takes the same for as the "Red
Books" of Humphry Repton (1752-1818), who assumed the leadership of the profession after Brown's death;
the red books, so-called because many were bound in red morocco leather, depicted parts of the landscape
both as they were and as Repton proposed to improve them.

Brown and Repton comprise just two of the four stages in English garden history that the play acknowledges.
Originally, and until sometime after 1740, Sidley Park had enjoyed what Hannah calls a "formal Italian
garden"; it included "topiary [trees clipped into fantastic shapes], pools and terraces, fountains, an avenue of
limes," and box hedges. By 1760, all this "sublime geometry" (Hannah again) had been replaced, actually
"ploughed up", with a layout that is ineluctably connected with Brown: green sward right up to the walls of the
house, and a ha-ha (a virtually invisible ditch) further permitting the illusion that this "garden" extended
indefinitely into the countryside. Lady Croom descibes the park in precisely Brownian terms:

        "The slopes are green and gentle. The trees are companionably grouped at intervals [i.e.
        Brown's famous clumps] that show them to advantage. The rill is a serpentine ribbon
        unwound from the lake peaceably contained by meadows on which the right amount of
        sheep are tastefully arranged -- in short, it is nature as God intended."

...The third stage of Sidley's transformation is mainly characterized by the picturesque -- what Noakes
himself calls "the modern style". ...Noakes' preferred models are the paintings and etchings of the
seventeenth-century Neopolitan painter, Salvator Rosa, much in vogue by the late eighteenth century: he
proposes a scenery of "gloomy forest and towering crag, of ruins where there was never a house, of water
dashing against rocks where there was neither spring nor a stone."

There is an interesting and important fourth phase to the landscaping at Sidley Park. This is the introduction
of a parterre or regular arrangement of patterned flower beds, established by Mr. Noakes next to the house
in 1810, that is to say, during the course of the plays' regency timespan. This feature, largely banished by
Brown and his imitators, is clearly designed (by Noakes or perhaps Lady Croom) to compensate for the
disasters perpetrated upon the middle and far distance with his picturesque scenery. This parterre, in fact
something of a throwback to Sidley's first "Italian" phase, is highly characteristic of Repton's later manner
when he, too, abandoned his picturesque enthusiasms.

By John Dixon Hunt, Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the
University of Pennsylvania. Taken from Landscape Journal, volume 15, issue 1, Spring 1996.
Our urge to divide, counter-balance and classify has never, perhaps, produced two denominations which
work so suggestively over the infinite terrain of human expression. In speaking of Classical and Romantic
literature, painting, music, sculpture, architecture or eve landscape-gardening, we balance reason against
imagination, logic against emotion, geometry against nature, formality against spontaneity, discretion against
valour... But in so doing, we are drawing attention not so much to different aesthetic principles as to different
responses to the world, to different tempers. "Romanticism" is an idea which needed a Classical mind to
have it. -J.F. Shade (1898-1959)

...This habit of viewing and criticizing nature as if it were an infinite series of more or less well composed
subjects for painting had been gaining in popularity all through the eighteenth century... The picturesque
view of nature was then the new, the only, way of deriving aesthetic satisfaction from landscape. Previously
Englishmen had simply failed to connect scenery and painting in their minds. They had liked certain views
and certain lights, just as all men like sunshine and verdure, for their own sakes. But landscapes as such
gave them no aesthetic satisfaction whatever. It was not until Englishmen became familiar with the
landscapes of Claude Lorrain and Salvator Rosa, Ruysdael and Hobbema, that they were able to receive
any visual pleasure from their surroundings.

...The picturesque phase through which each art passed, roughly between 1730 and 1830, was in each case
a prelude to romanticism. It occurred at the point when an art shifted its appeal from the reason to the
imagination. An art that addresses the reason, even though it does so through the eye, does not stress
visual qualities. The reason wants to know, not to experience sensations. The romantic movement was an
awakening of sensation, and, among the other sensation, that of sigh required exercising.

                              From The Picturesque (1927) by Christopher Hussey

                                   "Before" and "After" renderings by English
                                     landscape architect Humphrey Repton

The First Law of Thermodynamics: energy cannot be created or destroyed; it may be transformed from one
form into another, but the total amount of energy never changes.

On way of putting the Second Law of Thermodynamics is that energy never flows spontaneously from a cold
body to a hot one... Another way of putting it is that systems tend toward disorder. Order is restored only by
the expenditure of energy. Although the total energy remains constant in all energy transformations, some
energy is dissipated in the form of heat... he amount of usable energy decreases with each tranformation.
The message of the Second Law is that energy, unlink most resources, cannot be recycled... The laws of
thermodynamics are often stated in this way: the First Law says you can't get any more than you give, and
the Second law says you can't break even.

                                            From Conceptual Physics by Paul Hewitt

Probably the most fearsome result ever produced in the history of science was first announced by the
German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz in 1854. The universe, claimed Helmholtz, is doomed.

This apocalyptic prediction was based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The remorseless rise in
entropy that accompanies any natural process could only lead in the end, said Helmholtz, to the cessation of
all interesting activity throughout the universe, as the entire cosmos slides irreversibly into a state of
thermodynamic equilibrium.

...No new process, no mechanism, however ingenious, can alter this fate, because every physical process is
subject to the imperative of the Second Law.

                                           From The Cosmic Blueprint by Paul Davies

1. For a closed thermodynamic system, a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not
available to do work.
2. A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.
3. A measure of the loss of information in a transmitted message.
4. A hypothetical tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert
5. Inevitable and steady deterioration of a system.

                                      From the American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd ed., 1992.

Entropy is the name for the quality of systems that increases under the Second Law of Thermodynamics --
mixing, disorder, randomness. It serves as an adjunct of the Second Law, the inexorable tendency of the
universe, and any isolated system in it, to slide toward a state of increasing disorder. Divide a swimming pool
in half with some barrier; fill one half with water and one with ink; wait for all to be still; lift the barrier; simply
through the random motion of molecules, eventually the water and ink will mix. The mixing never reverses
itself, even if you wait till the end of the universe, which is why the Second Law is so often said to be the part
of physics that makes time a one-way street.

...The Second Law is one piece of technical bad news from science that has established itself firmly in the
nonscientific culture. Everything tends toward disorder. Any process that converts energy from one form o
another must lose some as heat. Perfect efficiency is impossible. The universe is a one-way street. Entropy
must always increase in the universe and in any hypothetical isolated system within it.

                            From Chaos by James Gleick, an early influence in the writing of ARCADIA

                           BYRON, George Gordon (1788-1824)

                           CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE was Byron's breakthrough poem that
                           established him as a leading poet of his time. The above two stanzas from the third
canto of the poem are considered especially exemplary of the romantic ideals and style.

BYRON, GEORGE GORDON (1788-1824), sixth baron, was the son of Captain John Byron, who eloped
with and married Lady Carmarthen, and had by her a daughter, Augusta, who was to be of great importance
in Byron's life. As his second wife, Captain Byron married Catherine Gordon of Gight, who became Byron's
mother. Pursued by creditors, the family moved in 1789 to Aberdeen, where Byron was educated until he
was ten. His father died in 1791, and the fifth baron's grandson was killed in 1794; so when the baron himself
died in 1798, Bryon inherited the title. In 1805, he went up to Cambridge. His first published collection of
poems, "HOURS OF IDLENESS", appeared in 1807, and was bitterly attacked in the Edinburgh Review.
Bryon avenged himself in 1809 [the year in which ARCADIA begins] with his satire "ENGLISH BARDS AND
SCOTCH REVIEWERS". Between 1809 and 1811, he visited Portugal, Spain, Malta, Greece and the Levant
[the Middle East]; and he became fired with the wish, which was to lead to his return and death, that Greece
should be freed from the Turks.

His first great literary triumph came with the publication of the first two cantos of "CHILDE HAROLD'S
PILGRIMAGE" in 1812. He was lionized by aristocratic and literary London, survived a hectic love-affair with
Lady Caroline Lamb, and became the constant companion of Augusta. In 1814, Augusta gave birth to a
daughter, who was generally supposed to be Byron's and was almost certainly so. After a long and hesitant
courtship, he married in 1815 Lady Melbourne's daughter, Annabella Milbanke. But his debts were
accumulating, doubts were cast upon his sanity, and public horror at the rumours of his incest were rising.
Annabella left him to live with her parents, and a legal separation was arranged.

Ostracized and deeply embittered, Byron left England in 1816, never to return, and traveled to Geneva,
where the Shelleys and Claire Claremont had rented a villa. Here, Claire became his mistress, but after four
months he left for Italy. His daughter by Claire, Allegra, was born in 1817 in England. In 1818, while living in
Venice, he began "DON JUAN", the first two Cantos of which were anonymously published in 1819, and
which were denounced in Blackwood's as "a filthy and impious poem". The death of his daughter Allegra in
1822, whom he had continually failed to visit, was a great grief to him. By 1823, he had come to feel that
action was more important than poetry, and began preparations to sail to Greece. In January of 1824, he
arrived at Missolonghi. He formed the "Byron Brigade" and gave large sums of money, and great inspiration,
to the insurgent Greeks, but he was dismayed by their disarray. In April, before he saw any serious military
actions, he died of fever.

Byron's poetry, although widely condemned on moral grounds, and frequently attacked by critics, was
extremely popular in England and even more so abroad. His legacy of inspiration in European poetry, music,
the novel, opera, and painting, has been immense.

                        From the Oxford Companion to English Literature, 1985, Oxford University Press

                                  I have not loved the World, nor the World me;
                                   I hve not flattered its rank breath, nor bowed
                                          To its idolatries a patient knee,
                                Nor coined my cheek to smiles, -- nor cried aloud
                                        In worship of an echo; in the crowd
                                 They could not deem me one of such -- I stood
                                    Among them, but not of them -- in a shroud
                            Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still could,
                                Had I not filed my mind, which thus itself subdued.

                                 I have not loved the World, not the World me, --
                                       But let us part fair foes; I do believe,
                                Though I have found them not, that there may be
                             Words which are things, -- hopes which will not deceive,
                                    And virtues which are merciful, nor weave
                                      Snare for the failing; I would also deem
                                  O'er others' griefs that some sincerely grieve --
                                That two, or one, are almost what they seem, --
                             That Goodness is no name -- and Happiness no dream.
                                         -Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, 1812

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