Discover Arcadia, Tom Stoppard’s masterpiece of a play

Discover Arcadia, Tom Stoppard’s masterpiece of a play

(Image: David Cooper) (Image: David Cooper)
 

There are many gems in Tom Stoppard’s catalogue, but Arcadia—a comedy that effortlessly intertwines disparate threads of Romantic poetry, landscape gardening, physics and academia—stands out as the British playwright’s masterpiece. It tells two stories in the same English country manor, 200 years apart. In 1809, a tutor teaches a 13-year-old prodigy. In the present day, a pair of researchers delve into the mansion’s past. And across the centuries, the characters’ rigid rationality breaks down against the messiness of human emotion. The audience is privy to both timelines, watching as the storylines correspond, contradict and finally align. The Toronto production is a transplant from the 2013 Shaw Festival, where it sold out 30 consecutive shows under the prolific Toronto-via-Texas director Eda Holmes. It’s lofty, light and moving, with a terrific cast of Shaw veterans plying the brilliantly witty script. Here’s your chance to see Stoppard’s masterpiece for yourself—no two-hour drive into wine country required.

To Dec. 14. $25–$99. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. W., 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.