Directed byProduced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
A room on the garden front of a very large country house in Derbyshire, England. The action of the play shuttles back and forth between the early nineteenth century and the present.
Technical Director Douglas W. Brown
Costume Shop Supervisor Lisa Weller
Audience Services Coordinator Shanda Smith
Dramaturgical Assistance Kelly Gidcumb
Assistant Stage Managers
Assistant Lighting Designer Matt Nelkin
Master Carpenter Matt Fuller*
Scene Shop Assistants Aaron
Bokros*, Bill Diggle*
Props Master K.T. Early
Scenery & Props Crew
Cutter/Draper Lisa Weller
Costume Shop Assistants Charles
Costume Construction Crew
Wardrobe, Hair & Makeup Meg McKee
Lightboard Operator Lauren Thompson*
Electrics Crew Matt Fuller*,
Sound Design & Engineering Mike Albanese
Sound Board Operator Chrissy Davis
Poster Design Jimmy Hilburn
Photography Bill Ray III
Homepage Photography Jonathan Christman
Assistant House Manager Elizabeth Rief Cheek
Box Office & Front of
House Staff Ali Ayala
Front of House Crew Drew
Theatre Office Assistants Alan English, Nathan Gunter, Nick Kinder, Jen Phillips, Jamelle Shannon, Tanis Smith, Nick Spruill, Amber Wiley*, Michael Wright
| Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia
has everything a director can possibly want. Placed both in the present
day and in the historical past, its characters range from precocious teenagers
to world-weary adults. In addition, many of them are quirky, oversexed,
conniving and even erudite. In short, they display amazing variations of
the human condition. Stoppard uses not just one plot but an avalanche of
mini plot lines tumbling towards an unexpectedly tranquil denouement.
Stoppard’s Arcadian revel has many dimensions. The setting is a large garden room overlooking a spectacular yet unseen garden that owes its existence to Capability Brown among others. The garden is a metaphor of cultural and literary history. In the early 1800s, Brown’s open pastures and winding streams were transmuted into a picturesque folly replete with cascading water, outcroppings of rocks and decaying ruins, including a “hermitage.” It is symbolic, as Hannah, a literary historian, says, of the “emotional breakdown” of the Romantic Movement. The hermitage, an offstage cottage is the emotional center of gravity for the play. Its predecessor, a gazebo, was the site of a tryst that provides most of the humor for the first scene. Later, it became Thomasina’s grieving tutor’s hermitage, and finally, in Scene Seven, it is the locale of the fraudulent Bernard’s final ignominy.
History and the present adorn the garden room with a patina of intellectual fervor and emotional intrigue. Hannah and Bernard pursue literary history and discover long forgotten gossip. Valentine wields family history and scientific endeavor with tantalizing hints of chaos theory, iterated algorithms and thermodynamics. Septimus and Thomasina explicate intellectual genius and adolescent development. Even Hannah can not imagine how pervasive her concept of “the genius of the place” is.
Professor John Baxley sent me a copy of a review of Arcadia that appeared in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society in 1995. It has become my favorite review of the play. The reviewer, Allyn Jackson, says one of the central questions of the play is “How far can science and mathematics take us in explaining what life is all about?” Luckily, science and mathematics don’t have to bear the entire burden of explaining life. Arcadia also explores the contributions of literature, scholarship, passion, music and love to the rich fabric of our lives.
— Donald H. Wolfe