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Thought by many to be one of the best plays of the 20th century, Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia" will be presented May 1-4 in Jewel Theatre in the Center for the Arts by Luther College’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts.
Premiered in 1993, “Arcadia” is set in Sidley Park, a fictional country estate, and moves back and forth between 1809 and the present. The residents of Sidley Park in 1809 include 13 year-old Thomasina, her tutor Septimus, her commanding mother Lady Croom, and an assortment of other residents and visitors, including "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" Lord Byron. In alternating scenes, the 21st century descendants of the 19th century family entertain two rival researchers who are visiting Sidley Park to piece together the puzzles of the past.
The play is being directed by visiting artist Kristen Underwood, who says, "One of the things that makes the play so entertaining is watching the people from the past puzzle over the future, while the people from the future try to piece together the past."
Tom Stoppard is said to have been inspired to write the play after reading the best-selling "Chaos" by James Gleick, and the play swirls with references to Newtonian physics, mathematics, and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (did a 13 year-old country girl discover it first?). But "Arcadia" also delves into landscape architecture, Romantic poetry, and the nature of time, juxtaposing past and present, art and science, order and disorder, in a witty and exhilarating evening of theatre.
The denizens of Sidley Park in 1809 (and, by the end of the play, 1812) are played by Anna Murray as Thomasina Coverly, Nelson Schreen as Septimus Hodge, Maxwell Lafontant as Jellaby the butler, Tyler Hagy as Ezra Chater, Lucas Chase as the landscape architect Richard Noakes, Elisabeth Athas as Lady Croom, and Josh Harper as her brother Captain Brice. In the modern era, Holly Fusco plays the author and researcher Hannah Jarvis, Bryce Muenchow is a rival academic Bernard Nightingale. The modern day descendents of the Coverly family are played by Maggie Sulentic as Chloe and Tim Komatsu as Valentine, with John Werner appearing as both Gus Coverly in the present day and Augustus Coverly in scenes from the past.
Kristen Underwood is directing, Tom Berger is designing the set, Lisa Lantz is creating the costume design, and Jeff Dintaman is designing the lighting. Alex Klyn is stage managing, Mim Harries is in charge of props, Chelsey O’Connor is assisting with lighting design, Josh Dale is assisting with sound, and Becca Chapin is assisting with hair and makeup, with additional students joining the crew as the week of production approaches.
Tickets are $10 or free for Luther students with CAF. They are available at the Luther Box Office by telephone (563)-387-1357, firstname.lastname@example.org, or at their office open Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9-10:30am and 11am-3pm; Tuesday, 9am-3pm with extended hours on Thursdays 9am-7pm.
Questions? Contact Elisabeth Athas, 563-650-4446, Elisabeth Athas