Play Review: “Arcadia”

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Photo by Alison Eaton, Multimedia Editor

Katherine Haight, Contributing Writer

The Theater Department presented the play “Arcadia,” written by Tom Stoppard, from Feb. 21-24 in Strebel Auditorium. It was directed by Rachel M.E. Wolfe.

“Arcadia” is set in one house but takes place in two different time periods, 19th century England and present day. The show was presented in a way that told both stories simultaneously.

The play depicts the journey of Thomasina, played by senior Lauren Impecatori, and her discovery of iterative algorithms and the second law of thermodynamics. Making these discoveries takes up a significant part of her life, but they are not recognized in her lifetime. After she dies in a fire, her tutor, Septimus, played by senior Cormac McCambridge, continues her work.

As the audience saw and learned what happened in the past, present-day scholars slowly make those discoveries and uncover her legacy. It was hard to follow at first, but it is a quick adjustment. The story was compelling and intriguing. The past truly felt like the past. It was obvious a lot of work went into the show.

The costumes enhanced the show. Early in the play, Thomasina’s dress had light floral patterns. As she gets older her dresses become more elegant. Without the flower patterns, it shows how she is maturing and no longer a young teen but entering adulthood. During the present-day scenes, costumes were just everyday clothing.

While costumes support the character, the set needs to support the whole show. This set was simple compared to previous theater department shows, but it did the job perfectly. There were no heavy scenery changes due to it all taking place in the same house. However, set designers did a great job at keeping it simple and elegant.

The floor and fireplace helped break up the set. Above the fireplace was a mirror, which was a bold choice since it was a working mirror that faced the audience. However, the mirror fit the set perfectly because of the way it was angled and the lights hit it just right.

Audience attendance was scattered and weak. Despite that, the cast was able to tell a compelling story while making simple yet funny jokes.

The show used sophisticated language to tell jokes. This made it slightly harder to understand, but once it was realized, the whole audience laughed. It’s only downfall was the consistent use of sophisticated language; anyone who was not used to it would have been quickly lost.


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