Photo by Don Kellogg

Monday, November 14, 2005


Tom Stoppard. If any of you are like me and saw "Jumpers" on Broadway last Winter, you might be thinking - oh no! Run for your life! Another babbling, British, snobbish, upper crusty, play the likes of Plato or Aristotle might even wince at. Well - if you're like me - you'll be totally surprised. With great trepedation, I attended my second Stoppard work - and what a different experience it was.

This play is so cleverly written (ok there's still a lot of "British" to get over) and so well acted I really felt like i was immersed in the 3 hour drama - as I would be a movie or a TV program on Channel 13. The theater is very intimate (a "black box", as it were) which lends itself quite well to captivating the audience. The play is set on an English country estate and is actually two stories - one takes place the early 1800's, the second in modern day. The latter story is a cast of modern academia types who are trying to figure out exactly what transpired on the estate 200 years earlier - as told to us in parallel by the by the other storyline. In both settings - it's a story of intregue and mystery; secrets and discovery; throw in a little lust, betrayal, and "carnal desire" - and voila - - you have "Arcadia", a Tom Stoppard "gem".

The Greenwich Street Theater Company and QED Productions has done an amazing job. The acting was suprub. Trust me, the script was still quite intelligent (read complex) and obviously required much preparation. Billed as a Showcase (as many are) for the AEA members - - I found the performances by the non-equity members ("up-and-commers") to be top notch and first rate. The direction, too, was outstanding - especially the staging of the last scene - where the two stories blend together both visually and emotionally. In the end you feel the emotional high of "conclusion". The story doesn't leave you hanging - It doesn't leave you asking "Who done it?"

There are many levels to this play - - many of which, admitidly, flew over my head, but at least I knew they were there and enjoyed absorbing them all.

Speaking of flying - - you'd better fly down to the Greenwich Street Theater - this one only runs until November 20th.