Tom Stoppard's award-winning drama Arcadia is sweeping the U.S., soon to be playing at three major regional theatres simultaneously.
Winner of the 1995 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, and the 1994 Olivier Award, London Critics Circle Award and the Evening Standard Award for Best Play, Arcadia was first produced in 1994 at the Royal National Theatre in London and then moved to the West End. In March 1995, Arcadia had its American premiere on Broadway at Lincoln Center.
On Dec. 18, Arena Stage opens its Washington, D.C. area premiere, in a production directed by Artistic Director Douglas C. Wager. Split between 1809 and the present day, Arcadia takes place at an estate in the British countryside, where characters from nearly two centuries ago interact, while letters and drawings of that era are interpreted by competing researchers hungry for a universal meaning and truth. The romantic ties between the characters in both time frames underly the philosophy and ideas bantered about.
Wager says, "This is a script that leaves you airborne without the use of complicated theatrics. A library table, two chairs and a stand, that's all there is on stage...and a bunch of really talented actors."
Some of those talented actors include J. Paul Boehmer, (recently from Broadway's An Ideal Husband,) Wendy Hoopes, Christina Haag and Terrence Caza. Arcadia closes Jan. 19. The Wilma Theatre of Philadelphia picked Time Magazine's former "play of the year" to christen their new 295-seat theatre . The production has broken all Wilma Box Office records for advance sales, and an additional week of performances has already been added, running Dec. 26-Jan. 26.
Wilma's Arcadia is directed by Jiri Zizka, co-artistic director, who says, "Arcadiais one of the best scripts I've read in a long time...a comic feast for the eyes, ears, heart, and above all, the brain."
The production was cast out of NY and Philadelphia, and includes Michael Burnet, Maggie Siff, Ian Kahn and Alison Edwards.
Arcadia marks the third production of the 30th Anniversary season at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum. Directed by Robert Egan, the Taper's producing director, Arcadia stars Kate Burton, Mark Capri, Suzanne Cryer and Jefrey Alan Chandler, among others, and begins previews Jan. 5, running through Feb. 23,1997.
Director Robert Egan says, "I think this is one of Tom Stoppard's great plays. It beautifully merges a world of ideas with a world of human drama and emotion. I see it as a story about human beings and our insatiable desire to know all there is to know about our world." Previous Tom Stoppard plays at the Taper include Travesties in 1977 and The Real Thing in 1986.