<i>Nunc Instantis: Arcadia</i> and <i>Copenhagen</i>

Geraldine Cousin

in Playing For Time

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780719061974
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700976 | DOI:
Nunc Instantis: Arcadia and Copenhagen

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Because they belong equally to past and present, it is the nature of ghosts to link these two aspects of time. In this chapter, Tom Stoppard's Arcadia and Copenhagen by Michael Frayn probe the intersection of past and present. Both premiered at the National Theatre, to critical acclaim, in the 1990s. Characters in these two plays hunt for clues, through research or into the recesses of memory, but, while a traditional detective story ends with the solution of a mystery, resolution in Arcadia and Copenhagen derives from a realisation of the co-existence of the then and the now within the simultaneous immediacy and ephemerality of the present moment of theatre. This chapter ends with a discussion of Michael Frayn's novel Spies.

Keywords: Michael Frayn; Arcadia; Copenhagen; time play; National Theatre; detective story; Spies

Chapter.  8414 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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