Luther College Visual and Performing Arts to present 'Arcadia'

Thought by many to be one of the best plays of the 20th century, Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia" will be presented May 1-4 by Luther College's Department of Visual and Performing Arts.     

Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 1-4 with an additional matinee performance at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4. All performances will take place in the Jewel Theatre in the Center for the Arts on the Luther campus.            

Tickets are $10 and are available at the Luther Box Office,  (563)-387-1357 or [email protected], Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9-10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Tuesday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with extended hours on Thursdays 9 a.m.-7 p.m.            

Premiered in 1993, "Arcadia" is set in Sidley Park, a fictional country estate, and moves back and forth between the year 1809 and the present. The residents of Sidley Park include Thomasina, a 13-year-old girl, 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 puzzles of the past.              

Stoppard is said to have been inspired to write the play after reading the best-selling book "Chaos" by James Gleick. The play is filled with references to Newtonian physics, mathematics and the second law of thermodynamics. "Arcadia" also delves into landscape architecture, Romantic poetry and the nature of time by juxtaposing past and present, art and science, and order and disorder in a witty and exhilarating theatre piece.            

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."            

The cast, comprised of Luther students, includes Anna Murray as Thomasina Coverly, Nelson Schreen as Septimus Hodge, Maxwell Lafontant as Jellaby the butler, Tyler Hagy as Ezra Chater, Lucas Chase as Richard Noakes, Elisabeth Athas as Lady Croom, Josh Harper as Captain Brice, Holly Fusco as Hannah Jarvis, Bryce Muenchow as Bernard Nightingale, Maggie Sulentic as Chloe, Tim Komatsu as Valentine and John Werner appearing as both Gus Coverly and Augustus Coverly.            

The production is also made possible by collaboration with Lisa Lantz, Luther assistant professor of theatre, managing costume design and construction; Tom Berger, technical director, managing scenic design and construction; and Jeff Dintaman, Luther professor of theatre, managing lighting for the performance.            

Luther students collaborating on the production include Alex Klyn, stage manager; Mim Harries, props; Chelsey O'Connor, lighting and design; Josh Dale, sound and Becca Chapin, hair and makeup.

Pictured are Nelson Schreen playing Septimus Hodge and Anna Murray playing Thomasina Coverly.