Talk:Arcadia (play)

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Et in Arcadia ego[edit]

I have a bit of a problem with the first paragraph's claim that the word "Arcadia" is a reference to "Et in Arcadia ego". That's like saying that the word "happiness" is violent because it's a reference to the phrase "happiness is a warm gun". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

What do you think "Arcadia" is referring to? Doops | talk 18:44, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

I disagree with the opening explanation: "Latin phrase et in Arcadia ego which states that death is always present". It would be more accurate to say "usually interpreted" (as in the page on "et in Arcadia ego"). The reference to the phrase is explicit within the play, where the possible ambiguity of the phrase is discussed. --RichardVeryard 13:45, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

I wouldn't say that the phrase is discussed as being ambiguous in the play. It's quite clear that Lady Croom's translation is incorrect:

LADY CROOM: ...and I can say with the painter, 'Et in Arcadia ego!' 'Here I am in Arcadia,' Thomasina. THOMASINA: If Mama would have it so. LADY CROOM: Is she correcting my taste or my translation? THOMASINA: Neither are beyond correction, but it was your geography caused the doubt.


SEPTIMUS: "Even in Arcadia, there am I!"

Both of these refer to Poussin's paintings, which are intended as "memento mori," or reminders of death. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:10, 7 March 2008 (UTC)


Can I please have more refferences, especially on some of the casual facts such as "Felicity Kendal (Stoppard's then lover)" 14:28, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Kendall/Stoppard is here, but does it need to go into the main page? --Old Moonraker 09:59, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
This article is about the play; celebrity gossip about the personal lives of those associated with the productions seems off topic. To answer my own question, above: no it doesn't. Deleting.--Old Moonraker (talk) 21:40, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

New Image[edit]

The new image File:ArcadiaPoster.jpg is a theatrical poster for one production of the play whereas the image it replaced was the cover of the original publication. In this context, discussing the work as a whole, I suggest that the book image is more appropriate and that it should be restored. Furthermore, albeit rather subjectively, the theatrical poster showing a couple dancing doesn't seem to relate to the work in any specific way: it's rather a commonplace concept. --Old Moonraker (talk) 05:51, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

I would agree - most productions of Arcadia I have seen emphasize the garden/grounds and possibly a country home. The dancing is a relatively minor part of the production. Ecragg (talk) 10:22, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Done. --Old Moonraker (talk) 05:00, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Rather than have it deleted completely, I added it to the more appropriate Production section. LiteraryMaven (talkcontrib) 17:46, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

City of Stonnington’s premier Arts Venue[edit]

This edit reinserted a production by a non-professional company[1] at Chapel off Chapel, "City of Stonnington’s premier Arts Venue". I don't want to fall into the WP:IDONTKNOWIT trap here so, as well as my previous notability not established objection, may I expand on WP:RECENT: the articles should be written with "regard to long-term historical perspective"? Convince me that this addition has notability that matches this standard, (while avoiding the Wikipedia:Other stuff exists argument), and I will happily withdraw my objection. --Old Moonraker (talk) 07:51, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

OK, no disagreement: RV. --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:06, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Well 24 hours isn't much time to declare no disagreement, but ok. The Age isn't a local paper, it's the major newspaper of Melbourne. The production was independent and noteworthy in Australia, but if you think that doesn't meet the criteria, I defer to your judgment. Any comparison I make to the noteworthiness of other productions listed here would fall under that other stuff exists rule I suppose. Paulknox (talk) 23:54, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

I accept that 24 hours was a bit swift, sorry. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:11, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

"The present"[edit]

May we settle for one date in the article? The work specifies only "the present" which would give us, loosely, 1993. As far as I can see "1989" comes only from the publisher's commentary on the back cover: "same room 180 years later". From this I tend to prefer 1993 but don't really mind which as long as it's the same throughout. Any other views, before I tidy this up? --Old Moonraker (talk) 07:34, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Done.--Old Moonraker (talk) 15:37, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

I've just looked at Stoppard's stage directions, and I would like to remove the date for "the present" entirely -- he talks about the effect desired at length and does not specify a date for the later period. This is unlikely to be a chance omission. The stage direction as written leaves open the possibility that a production of the play in 2020 (I expect that the play will continue to be produced) would be set not in 1809 and the late twentieth century but in 1809 and the early twenty-first.

I think substituting the date of the premiere for "the present" is original interpretation. We can describe the performance history of the play as: "the present (1993 in the play's first production)" but I don't think we should assign a date to the later period as if it were part of the play as written. It isn't.

Distingué Traces (talk) 19:12, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Good suggestion. There has just been a drive-by edit changing this again, so: the sooner the better! --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:02, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Play, not the production[edit]

This edit seems to be based on a misreading of the text following: it changed "dispel...critical doubts" about the play to "acclaimed...production". Quotes such as: "the play gets richer with each viewing ... there is poetry and passion behind the mathematics and metaphysics" and the "the greatest play of its time" (all emphasis added) make the meaning obvious, and the change is not justified. I propose a revert. --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:03, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

I see your point. But you don't find the claim of "dispelled any remaining critical doubts" a bit troubling? Especially since it is based on a roundup of merely six reviews. - Artoasis (talk) 08:24, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
OK then: back to the original reading, but substituting that particular phrase. --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:36, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
That looks like a fix. Thanks. --Old Moonraker (talk) 09:29, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Hi there. I hope it is not inappropriate to infer that you become a fan of this play because of its London production. I saw the play for the first time on Broadway during a recent trip to NYC. It was strangely uneven and dissatisfying. I plan to add the reviews later. I really feel that a play's reception greatly depends on the the quality of a specific production. - Artoasis (talk) 09:50, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────As Old Moonraker I can recall and compare both London productions, but not those in other countries. I hope I'm editing dispassionately—I added "too clever by about two-and-three-quarters" and "mixed or unfavourable, citing anachronisms"—but I am a fan. I haven't gone into comparison between the London and NY shows, but if you research this, particularly the first NY production, it will bear out your point about the quality of staging influencing perception of the writing. --Old Moonraker (talk) 10:09, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply. I didn't mean to doubt the neutrality of this article, and I do believe the significance of this play. In fact, I went to see the Broadway production exactly because I've heard great things about Arcadia. Considering the high praise it received in London, I'm afraid that this new NY revival is not doing the play full justice. I have great memories of the Broadway staging of The Coast of Utopia in 2007. Utopia may not represent Mr. Stoppard's finest work, but the NY production is just marvelous. - Artoasis (talk) 11:00, 18 March 2011 (UTC)


The difference is no longer commonly distinguished and if I found one that was wrong, I would leave it alone. However, someone has just changed the right to the wrong version, and that's different: "Inquiry/inquire refers to formal and organized investigations, whereas enquiry/enquire are used of single and personal questions" (Peters, also in Fowler). Verbs and nouns don't come into it. I propose a return to the status quo ante. --Old Moonraker (talk) 05:35, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

I just took a close look; the original text used the wrong plural form "enquires" as opposed to "enquiries". Maybe that's why some editor brought up the whole verb/noun thing. - Artoasis (talk) 05:58, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
Good catch. I hadn't noticed this (I need to turn up the character size on screen to check anything closely these days—see comments about "old" editors, above) so grateful thanks for pointing it out. The verb/noun change was correct: it's just that the spelling choice in the changed version that contravenes the sources. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:25, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the fix. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:44, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
Hey, it's a tiny typo, easy to slip. I just changed it back to "enquiries". If the sources use "enquiry", then it should be "enquiry". - Artoasis (talk) 06:45, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

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The current version of the "Genre" section mentions comedy and tragedy. Aristotle's comedy is a some awful slob becoming happy because of a singular quality. (E.g., Homer Simpson because he loves his family.) Tragedy is some nigh-perfect person falling from grace due to their flaw. (E.g. Lisa Simpson fails because of arrogance.) These teach us to admire the singular quality or distain the tragic flaw. While Arcadia contains a lot of humor, it's not "comedy" as Aristotle defines it. While I see some tragedy (Nightingale, Mr. Chater, Brice), it is not the dominant theme.

I see Arcadia as a mystery. In the "present" timeframe, the audience wonders what happened in the past. In the "past", the audience wonders what happened to bring about the present. We wonder who killed Mr. Chater. We wonder who was the hermit, and when we find out, we wonder what drove Septimus to become the hermit. We wonder if Nightingale's arrogance be found out (like we all feel he deserves).

Also, it might be good to connect the page to other works with two time periods. Cryptonomicon has a similar structure, where the present is trying to uncover the past and the past must find its way to the start of the present.

Mdnahas (talk) 18:07, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

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