Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” is a play bursting with heavy themes and dichotomies, ranging from science versus literature to order versus chaos to thought versus feeling. Though the action all takes place around one large table in an English country house (well-imagined by scenic designer Michelle Lilly), the time period repeatedly shifts between the early 1800s, where Septimus (Billy Fenderson) tutors his young charge Thomasina (Hilary Williams), and today, where hubristic academic Bernard (Dan Granata) attempts to find evidence for a scandal involving Lord Byron and author Hannah (Marsha Harman) works on a piece about hermits. With an able cast, director Jessica Hutchinson tackles this complex bundle of comedy and drama carefully and deliberately, giving the audience time to let Stoppard’s language sink in without making the two-hour-forty-minute running time feel bloated. The well-cast ensemble feels natural together with Granata’s cocksure bravura, Harman’s subtle emotional internalizations and Fenderson’s cheekiness standing out. (Zach Freeman)
New Leaf Theatre at the Lincoln Park Cultural Center, 2045 North Lincoln Park West, (773)980-6391. Through June 16.