Et in Arcadia archetypus ego?
November 8, 2010 9:04 PM   Subscribe

Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, original cast - does a film or videotape exist?

Arcadia is one of my all-time favorite plays. I would love to see the original cast, which included Felicity Kendal, Bill Nighy, and Rufus Sewell.

Does anyone know if that production was ever filmed or recorded? If so, where might the film be housed? It would be amazing to learn that it had been broadcast on the BBC or something, but even if there's a single copy in a theatre archive somewhere, I'd love to know about it.

posted by kristi to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The New York Public Library has archived a performance in the Performing Arts Research Collection, but you'll only be able to see it under certain conditions (research for scholarly work or a theatrical production).
posted by thomas j wise at 9:25 PM on November 8, 2010

Response by poster: Thomas -


... is it this?

Arcadia [videorecording] / Lincoln Center Theater

If so ... that's the Trevor Nunn production, but Blair Brown (and Billy Crudup! that could be cool ... wouldn't he have been about 12 years old?), not Felicity Kendal and Bill Nighy, if I'm looking at the right thing.

Excellent, excellent tip, though - thank you!
posted by kristi at 9:35 PM on November 8, 2010

Best answer: Billy Crudup was in his late 20's in that production of Arcadia, the first in the US. It was a great show, but not the originating cast. I am quite certain there's video of the National's production in '93, although where it might be I don't know. The National's archives only go back to 1995, but Nunn never would've let the play close without putting the damn thing to tape, I'm quite sure. Every play from 1995 on is available for viewing at The National's archives, FYI. If you're there and you ask nicely, perhaps someone in the archives would know where to find a video of the '93 production.
posted by incessant at 11:17 PM on November 8, 2010

Best answer: There is a radio recording, made for BBC Radio 3 in 1993, with Nighy, Kendal, Sewell, Harriet Walter, Samuel West and the rest of the original National Theatre cast.

(Obviously, as an audio recording, it omits what was for me the single most astonishing moment of the evening - a small bit of business with a wine glass - but it's still quite marvellous.)
posted by Grangousier at 8:16 AM on November 9, 2010

Not to piggyback, but I'm going to.

I've been dying to see the original cast recording of Spamalot, and NYC Library has it. How do I get it?
posted by santojulieta at 9:08 AM on November 9, 2010

The Lincoln Center has been taping every single Broadway performance and archiving them since at least the 80's, and select shows before that. You should call ahead and schedule a viewing appointment, as they may not let you view otherwise. Yeah, you are supposed to be doing 'research' or be a student, but you can probably fudge that.

Things like Spamalot you may not be able to watch. The Lincoln Center is really fussy about their performing arts collection, and certain artists (like Jerome Robbins, for one) will not allow any of their archived work to be viewed by anyone.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:16 AM on November 9, 2010

I saw that Lincoln Center production -- it also featured Victor Garber and Robert Sean Leonard. All those career actors, and Billy Crudup had nothing but some regional theatre and off-Broadway to his name at the time. He was pretty great; I followed his film career from then on.

Incidentally, Alexander Hanson took over for Rufus Sewell in London. Mr. Hanson starred recently in the revival of "A Little Night Music" on Broadway.
posted by desuetude at 7:31 PM on November 9, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the great pointers, everyone!

I may end up writing to the archivists at The National to see whether they have a recording.

That was exactly what I was looking for - just a pointer to what institutions might be most likely to have a recording.

Grangousier - it's so good to know that a recording exists!

Thanks, all!
posted by kristi at 11:19 AM on November 13, 2010

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