Arcadia production memorable, clever

Arcadia consists of two distinctly separate, but intrinsically intertwined storylines, that span the year of 1809 and the present day. The first tells the tale of young Thomasina Coverly, played by graduate student Hannah De Los Santos, and her tutor Septimus Hodge, played by Matt Fields ’18. The second revolves around Hannah Jarvis, played by Sam Primm ’21; Bernard Nightingale, played by Sam O’Connor ’21; and Valentine Coverly, played by graduate student Marcus J. Barbret, who are working to uncover the mysteries of what happened in the manor almost a century ago.

I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t gone yet, but I will say that the play is full of intrigue, witty banter, snappy dialogue, and just enough math to keep things interesting. The actors fully embodied their characters and played their roles with lively, whole-hearted enthusiasm that really made the story come alive. It was clear from the way the actors played their parts that they really connected with the characters they were portraying.

When I spoke with Fields after the show, he expressed that when choosing the play, “We just weighed [Arcadia] against all the other options and we decided that we loved the writing here, we loved the symbolism, and that’s what came through.” He went on to say, in reference to his own performance, “This has been one of my favorite roles. I’ve just been able to really dig deep into the character, get some comedic moments out there as well, and just create this persona that I hope came across on stage.”

Beyond just the fantastic acting, the set for the show is gorgeous. It is the product of 60–70 collective hours of work, divided over the course of five different work parties. (Work parties are when people come in on a Friday night work on the set, props, costumes, and anything that needs to be done to prepare for the upcoming show, with usually five to seven people working at a time.) The set is made up of a long, wooden table strewn with books and surrounded on three sides by chairs. There are two doorways, one on each side of the stage, and in the background there are tall bookshelves alternating with large windowpanes and a set of double doors in the middle. Beyond the windows, you can see a hint of foliage that gives the feeling of the garden outside that is frequently discussed throughout the play. The set overall is artfully crafted but not overdone, and is simple enough to keep the attention of the audience focused on the actors.

Arcadia is definitely worth taking the time to go see if you have the chance. Tickets are six dollars at the door with your student ID, and the play will be showing again on Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18, both at 8 pm.