I love the fact Mr. Stoppard worries so much about just three minutes, what he calls "100 beats." After all this time and all those accolades about the play, he still worries about how he might be able to make it better.
The difficulty in finding lines to cut is not surprising. To many critics “Arcadia” is Mr. Stoppard’s masterwork, the perfect blend of brains and emotion, wit and heartache. Moving between 1809 and the present at a Derbyshire country house, it offers up a mystery for two academics who clumsily try to piece together whether a volatile mix of sex and poetry led to a duel there nearly 200 years earlier. During the 1990s it was one of the most frequently produced plays around the world.
Still, those three minutes trouble him. “When you write, it’s making a certain kind of music in your head,” he explained. “There’s a rhythm to it, a pulse, and on the whole I’m writing to that drum, rather than the psychological process” — the time it takes for one character to digest and respond to what another said — “which creates its own drumbeat.” [more]
I didn't know Arcadia was one of the most frequently produced plays in the 1990s. Makes me wonder about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead during the sixties and seventies.