You, dear friend, know I'm excited about the revival of Stoppard's Arcadia that's now in previews on Broadway. Apparently, The New Yorker is too as they've just published (online) one of its "casuals" that follows Mr. Stoppard through the course of an afternoon and early evening. --The especially good part of the article is learning something I neve knew before about Mr. Stoppard's work in particular and in general what works (and why) on the stage. Herewith:
“Arcadia” exists as a result of Stoppard’s having read, twenty or so years ago, several books about physics, mathematics, landscape gardening, and a Peter Quennell biography of Lord Byron. As the dialogue ping-pongs along, the audience courts the peculiar risk of listening too carefully. “If you take a speech of ten lines—and this is true of Shakespeare and true of Tom—if that becomes too slow, there is no way you will comprehend it,” Leveaux said. “Too fast and it becomes a blur of words and you retreat defeated from the effort. There’s a kind of ideal resonant tempo.”
“That fits with what I think about playwriting,” Stoppard said. “It’s about controlling the flow of information—arriving at the right length and the right speed and in the right order. ‘Arcadia’ is obviously a play that’s got interesting things in it that are perhaps quite hard to grasp. But it’s also a detective form, and designed to be a recreation. If the audience is made to do not enough work, they resent it without knowing it. Too much and they get lost. There’s a perfect pace to be found. And a perfect place that is different for every line of the play.” [more]
By the by, as a public relations professional, it would be entirely remiss of me not to congratulation Ms. Emily Meagher of the agency Boneau/Bryan-Brown on this splendid placement. So: Congratulations, Ms. Meagher!