Dav's Reviews > Arcadia

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
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Nov 09, 11

Read in November, 2011

My shakuhachi teacher is also a vegan chef. He hosted a dinner concert a week ago (Kaoru Kakizakai, a master shakuhachi player, was the headliner). While there I had a conversation with a fellow player, Karl, about my dream of writing a screenplay based on the tragic story of Evariste Galois, the early 19th century mathematician. Galois is known as the father of modern algebra, which led directly to the development of group theory. Group theory is a highly esoteric branch of Mathematics that a century later was finding use in such fields as quantum mechanics. I mentioned how I wanted to set my screenplay in modern times (sort of like the 1996 movie Romeo + Juliet) and that I wanted it to not only tell Galois' story but also attempt to explain the Mathematics he developed.

Karl urged me to look up Arcadia, a play by Tom Stoppard. I haven't read a play since Delillo's Valparaiso seven years ago, but I'm glad I took up this one! Within the first page I was drawn in by the witty wordplay and didn't put it down until I had finished it a couple of hours past bedtime. The characters are colorful and compelling and effortlessly draw one into the scientific philosophies being discussed. The time shifting construct of the play is interesting and so wonderfully meta. To think of the evenings I waste watching a lame movie when I can be watching a theatrical tale like this in my mind. I should read more plays.
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