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Playing For TimeStories of Lost Children, Ghosts and the Endangered Present in Contemporary Theatre$
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Geraldine Cousin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780719061974

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719061974.001.0001

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Nunc Instantis: Arcadia and Copenhagen

Nunc Instantis: Arcadia and Copenhagen

(p.55) 4 Nunc Instantis: Arcadia and Copenhagen
Playing For Time

Geraldine Cousin

Manchester University Press

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

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