The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film’s production of playwright Tom Stoppard’s acclaimed comedy, “Arcadia,” will open this week.
Performances will be Friday through Sunday, Nov. 3-5 and 10-12, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre. Curtain time Fridays and Saturdays will be 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday shows will start at 2 p.m.Special matinee performances for schools and community groups will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 7-8, at 9:30 a.m.
“Arcadia,” Stoppard’s 1993 play, has been praised by many critics as the finest work from one of the most significant contemporary playwrights in the English language. Set in a Derbyshire country estate in England, “Arcadia” takes visitors from 1809 to the present — and back again. The characters of the past try to predict the future, while those in the present attempt to uncover the past. It is a comedy about history and science, philosophy and mathematics, love and death, and the human desire to know everything — even if that’s impossible.
The production is directed by guest director Qarie Marshall. In addition to teaching at UT on an adjunct basis, Marshall is a professional actor, voice-over artist and choreographer. He said he is excited to direct a Stoppard production having appeared in some of his plays, including “The Real Inspector Hound” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” and having seen many of his productions.
Marshall said his goal is to deliver audiences an authentic Stoppard production. “Quite simply, I want to get out of the way of the playwright and let him do his work. Stoppard has done all the heavy lifting in the construction of this beautiful play.”
“Arcadia” is one of two math-based plays the department is presenting this season. The other is “Proof” by David Auburn, will run Feb. 2-11. The department is collaborating with the Mathematics and Statistics Department on the production. Dr. Alessandro Arsie, associate professor and associate chair of mathematics, approached Dr. Edmund Lingan, professor and chair of theatre and film, during spring semester and suggested the collaboration to coincide with the 100th anniversary celebration of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Working together, they decided that Stoppard’s play, with its plot and themes rich with mathematical ideas, would be perfect to commemorate the centennial celebration.
Marshall said it’s all good fun, and you don’t need to be a math wiz to enjoy the show. “You don’t have to know anything about chaos theory, fractals or iterated algorithms. Stoppard’s genius gives you everything you need.”
The cast of “Arcadia” features UT students Justin Petty, a sophomore majoring in theatre, as Septimus Hodge; Zane Traxler, a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering, as Jellaby; Bryan Harkins, a senior theatre major, as Ezra Chater; Keeyong Hong, a senior theatre major, as Richard Noakes; Faith Murphy, a sophomore theatre major, as Lady Croom; Rachel Hybarger, a senior theatre major, as Capt. Brice; Kenzie Phillips, a senior majoring in theatre and environmental science, as Hannah; Becca Lustic, a sophomore theatre major, as Chloe Coverly; and Austin Rambo, a junior majoring in theatre and media communication, as Valentine Coverly.
Rounding out the cast are Brad Smith, a 2005 UT College of Law alumnus, as Bernard Nightingale; Jude Lingan, a student at the Toledo School for the Arts, as Augustus/Gus Coverly; and Grace Mulinix, a student at Toledo Early College High School, as Thomasina Coverly.
Tickets are $8 for students and children; $10 for UT faculty, staff and alumni, and military members and seniors; and $15 for the general public. Call 419.530.ARTS (2787) or order online at utoledo.tix.com. Tickets also will be available at the door.