Sed In Arcadia Nego

by John Derbyshire

A reader:

Dear John,

I attended a performance of Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” this weekend and it made me think of you:

1. It’s set in Derbyshire.
2. There’s math in the plot.

I wondered if you are familiar with “Arcadia” and if you have an opinion about it.

Best wishes,

I only ever once attended a Stoppard play, in London, 1984. Don’t recall the title, or much else about it. Here, in fact, is the entirety of what I do recall:

  • Felicity Kendal looked terrific in tights.
  • Climbing down a ladder without looking out below him, someone steps on a tortoise.
  • There was some talk about metaphysics that I didn’t follow.
  • Coming out of it I crossed Stoppard off my mental list of playwrights whose works I would ever revisit.
  • My date (blind) had poor personal hygiene. Crossed her off a different list.

Strangely I find myself at odds here with the normally infallible Steve Sailer, who calls Stoppard “my favorite playwright.”

Just two words, Steve: Samuel Beckett.

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