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Arcadia (L.A. Theatre Works Audio Theatre Collections) [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Tom Stoppard , John Rubinstein , Susan Albert Loewenberg
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 21.20
Price: 20.12 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Kindle Edition 5.39  
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Audio Download, Unabridged 4.70
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Book Description

15 Jun 2009 L.A. Theatre Works Audio Theatre Collections

In a large country house in Derbyshire in April 1809 sits Lady Thomasina Coverly, aged thirteen, and her tutor, Septimus Hodge. Through the window may be seen some of the '500 acres inclusive of lake' where Capability Brown's idealized landscape is about to give way to the 'picturesque' Gothic style: 'everything but vampires', as the garden historian Hannah Jarvis remarks to Bernard Nightingale when they stand in the same room 180 years later.

Bernard has arrived to uncover the scandal which is said to have taken place when Lord Byron stayed at Sidley Park.

Tom Stoppard's absorbing play takes us back and forth between the centuries and explores the nature of truth and time, the difference between the Classical and the Romantic temperament, and the disruptive influence of sex on our orbits in life - 'the attraction', as Hannah says, 'which Newton left out'.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: LA Theatre Works; Unabridged edition (15 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580815960
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580815963
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 674,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"There's no doubt about it. 'Arcadia' is Tom Stoppard's richest, most ravishing comedy to date, a play of wit, intellect, language, brio and ... emotion. It's like a dream of levitation: you're instantaneously aloft, soaring, banking, doing loop-the-loops and then, when you think you're about to plummet to earth, swooping to a gentle touchdown of not easily described sweetness and sorrow."
--Vincent Canby, "The New York Times" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Tom Stoppard's work includes Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Real Inspector Hound, Jumpers, Travesties, Night and Day, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, After Magritte, Dirty Linen, The Real Thing, Hapgood, Arcadia, Indian Ink, The Invention of Love, the trilogy The Coast of Utopia and Rock 'n' Roll. His radio plays include If You're Glad I'll Be Frank, Albert's Bridge, Where Are They Now?, Artist Descending a Staircase, The Dog It Was That Died, In the Native State and Darkside (incorporating Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon). Television work includes Professional Foul, Squaring the Circle and Parade's End. His film credits include Empire of the Sun, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which he also directed, Shakespeare in Love, Enigma and Anna Karenina. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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A room on the garden front of a very large country house in Derbyshire in April 1809. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waltzing with time 16 Dec 2009
I saw this play in the 1990s, but it largely faded from my memory. I had the impression of it being a difficult, entertaining and serious play. I went to see it again in August 2009. I could grasp that it was an excellent and even important piece of work, though I confessed to my friend that the full message eluded me. He wisely commented that Stoppard would be disappointed if we did grasp it all.

Since then, I have bought a copy and read it. Unlike many plays, the reading was clearer than the staged version - though the sequence of seeing the play on the stage first doubtless influences that opinion. It is so packed with clever, fizzy ideas that it is difficult to understand them from the fast, witty dialogue. On the page, one can slow down and turn back. It is a play to be highly recommended, a towering intellectual achievement, maybe (probably) a rung above `Copenhagen' by Michael Frayn.

To summarise the plot of the play would take many paragraphs, and would possibly spoil it for those who have not seen or read it. Instead, it is fruitful to highlight the theme of Time.

`Arcadia' opens with a scene from 1809, as you can tell from the dress and language. So we are shifted back in time by 200 years. The very first line of the play, from a curious, intelligent, nave girl called Thomasina to her tutor raises a laugh from the audience: "Septimus, what is carnal embrace?" This leads into the comic, slightly farcical, country-house drama that Stoppard loves - as in `The real inspector Hound'. The entangled relationships and attractions are a thick thread in the tapestry of the story, running in parallel between the early 19th Century and modern times.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing...genius! 3 Nov 2011
By Asma
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this play! I had to study it for my course and once I started reading I could not stop! This is a work of genius and Stoppard has proved to be a fantastic writer. It is witty, humorous and extremely interesting. I would recommend this to all play and drama lovers. It contains an interesting combination of themes and ideas which make it even more readable and interesting.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good play but bad quality edition 3 Dec 2009
The play itself if fascinating and definitely worth a read, but I would certainly suggest buying a different edition.

The Faber and Faber edition is simply poor quality, with many errors and typos, even getting characters names wrong towards the end. I studied this book for A Level and almost every copy in our class had fallen apart within the first month, with pages falling out completely or hanging by one corner. I understand that books studied by students undergo a lot of wear and tear, but this is simply badly bound.

I hope this saves someone else having to selotape up their copy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a splendid production of 'Arcadia' by L.A.Theatre Works, recorded in 2009 using an earlier script version than the (barely noticeably) revised edition published in the same year. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it with, for me, only one minor reservation. Lady Croom was portrayed as rather shrill and not played nearly grandly enough, that is to say, in the way one would imagine Lady Bracknell to sound like, given that this is how her character reads in the script, with her acerbic comments and Wildean aphorisms. Other than that, the performances are commendable and there are only the rarest and slightest of clues in pronunciation that the cast is American and not British.

The cd production has been altered since the printing of the cover information. There is, in addition to the production, an interview but rather than the one advertised with Ira Nadel, Professor of English at the University of British Columbia, there is instead a half-hour discussion between producer Susan Lowenberg and Steven H Strogatz, Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University, who gives a very interesting and approachable explanation of chaos theory and other mathematical insights within the context of the play.

I do recommend this audio book as being well worth listening to if, like me, you haven't had the opportunity to see a stage production, or if you are studying the play, as it interprets the brilliance of the script to a very high standard and in a most enjoyable way.

Jim Simpson
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Total genius 12 Sep 2012
By Camelot
I studied this play at A level many years ago but I can't leave it alone. This is a work of total genius and, although purists would say that plays shoud be see and not read, it would be impossible to appreciate the nuances without reading it multiple times over many years. I agree with one review which suggests finding another version. The binding is poor and my copy is now stuck together with sellotape but I'll never part from it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars saw a this play and wanted to read it 21 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I went to a performance of this play in Bristol which was excellent, so wanted to read it and see if I missed any of the points the play made. Reading the play re-inforced how interesting the play is. Lots of ideas but not preachy. Will definitely look for other performances of this play and others by Stoppard.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Complex and rewarding 15 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It can be hard to follow the incredibly complex theories and ideas put forward in this, but that makes it all the more rewarding. I actually did an amateur production of this years ago and rehearsed it endlessly for nearly 8 months, but even now, I find and understand new things every time I re-read it.
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