A Play In Two Acts

Book - 1993
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Characters: 8 male, 4 female

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This play moves back and forth between 1809 and the present at the elegant estate owned by the Coverly family. The 1809 scenes reveal a household in transition. As the Arcadian landscape is being transformed into picturesque Gothic gardens, complete with a hermitage, thirteen year old Lady Thomasina and her tutor delve into intellectual and romantic issues. Present day scenes depict the Coverly descendants and two competing scholars who are researching a possible scandal at the estate in 1809 involving Lord Byron. This brilliant play moves smoothly between the centuries and explores the nature of truth and time, the difference between classical and romantic temperaments, and the disruptive influence of sex on our life orbits the attraction Newton left out.

"Pure entertainment for the heart, mind, soul.... The best Broadway play for many, many a season. It is a work shot through with fun, passion and, yes, genius." N.Y. Post.

"Stoppard's richest, most ravishing comedy to date, a play of wit, intellect, language, brio and ... emotion. It's like a dream of levitation: you're instantaneously aloft, soaring, banking, doing loop the loops.... The playwright is a daredevil pilot who's steady at the controls." N.Y. Times.

"Full of complex ideas and pleasures one expects from this master of dramatic composition." Time Out.

"A dazzling exposition of epigrammatic wit." Daily Express.

To learn more about the 2011 Broadway production, visit

Winner of the 1995 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play and the 1994 Olivier Award.

Publisher: New York : London : Samuel French, c1993.
ISBN: 9780573695667
Characteristics: 106 p. ; 20 cm.


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n_snowbird Sep 12, 2013

Being performed in Niagara on the Lake until 11/13. Great play!

Apr 01, 2012

The dialogue is sharp and witty and I like the mash-up of determinism, love, entropy, academics, art, and time's arrow. Hope to see it on stage someday.


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Apr 01, 2012

"When we have found all the mysteries and lost all the meaning, we will be alone, on an empty shore."

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