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"I can't think of anything more trivial than the speed of light. Quarks, quasars, big bangs, black holes ... who gives a shit?" asks English professor Bernard Nightingale in Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia. Shortly thereafter, the arrogant professor receives his comeuppance when his theory that poet Lord Byron killed a rival in a duel is disproved by botanical evidence. This tension between poetry and science is at the heart of a play that follows two sets of characters from different time periods, who are all living in the same idyllic country house in Britain's pastoral paradise, Arcadia. Thomasina Coverly and her tutor, Septimus, are studying Enlightenment science in a world in the throes of a Romantic revolution. Meanwhile, in the present day, rival academics are attempting to unravel the events of Byron's 1809 visit to the house, with the help of the current Coverly family. As the two time periods move closer to the truth they become increasingly intertwined, and the characters come to learn the hard truth of the phrase Et in Arcadia ego: "Death penetrates even in Paradise." Company Carolina stages the play through April 8 at the Union Cabaret on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Call 990-1121 for details.

DiamondDiamondDiamondDue to popular demand, AbbeyCat Productions will be adding two more performances of Christopher Durang's uproarious play Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You. Annie Taft directs, at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro, April 6 and 7 at 8 p.m. Call 929-2787 for details.

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