If you're doing something like 'Arcadia' by Tom Stoppard, which has been done millions and millions of times, and it's been played some unbelievably well-respected actors, there's a lot more pressure there. But I try not to think about all the other people who have done it before me. You've got to try and be original.
There's no doubt about it. Arcadia is Tom Stoppard's richest, most ravishing comedy to date, a play of wit, intellect, language, brio and, new for him, emotion. It's like a dream of levitation: you're instantaneously aloft, soaring, banking, doing loop-the-loops and then, when you think you're about to plummet to earth, swooping to a gentle touchdown of not easily described sweetness and sorrow.
To value the tradition of, and the discipline required for, the craft of fiction seems today pointless. The real Arcadia is a lonely, mountainous plateau, overbouldered and strewn with the skulls of sheep slain for vellum and old bitten pinions that tried to be quills. It's forty rough miles by mule from Athens, a city where there's a fair, a movie house, cotton candy.
You deserve all that and more. It made me happy to see you suffer. I would do it all over again if I could.' I realized I was shaking as the words tumbled out of me. 'I would do it again and again. Every night I would torment you and laugh. Do you understand? You are never safe with me.' I drew a shuddering breath, trying to will away the sting of tears. He opened his eyes and stared up at me as if I were the door out of Arcadia and back to the true sky. 'That's what makes you my favorite.' He reached up and wiped a tear off my cheek with his thumb. 'Every wicked bit of you.
A ghostly side note Soldier boy Miller played a Lucifer-like character in the final two episodes of Joan of Arcadia. Coincidence I do find it strangely poetic, ... that a character who shows up on a show about God to play something kind of satanic winds up in the very last two episodes of that show, and then appears in the show that replaces that show on its exact time and night the following season.
The Renaissance did not break completely with mediaeval history and values. Sir Philip Sidney is often considered the model of the perfect Renaissance gentleman. He embodied the mediaeval virtues of the knight (the noble warrior), the lover (the man of passion), and the scholar (the man of learning). His death in 1586, after the Battle of Zutphen, sacrificing the last of his water supply to a wounded soldier, made him a hero. His great sonnet sequence Astrophel and Stella is one of the key texts of the time, distilling the author's virtues and beliefs into the first of the Renaissance love masterpieces. His other great work, Arcadia, is a prose romance interspersed with many poems and songs.