Theatre UCF, part of the UCF School of Performing Arts, will present Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia through Feb. 1, in the Main Stage theater on the University of Central Florida campus.
Arcadia is a witty and complex story that switches between two time periods, 1809 and 1999. In the earlier time period, 13-year-old Thomasina makes a startling scientific discovery that will change the way people understand the world. Around her, the adults, including her tutor Septimus, are busy with their illicit passions, intense rivalries, and fast-fired bon mot. In 1999, residents and visitors of the same English estate have similar preoccupations, while they piece together puzzling clues to uncover its past scandals.
Director Kate Ingram has long wanted to bring this play to UCF because of how it brings the sciences and mathematics to the stage. “We have such a strong history of sciences at UCF. It’s a perfect fit for the university,” she said.
She quotes character Thomasina as she talks about why she appreciates Arcadia. “‘I, Thomasina Coverly, have found a truly wonderful method whereby all the forms of nature must give up their numerical secrets and draw themselves by number alone.’ And I love that because this play combines human nature, and math, and physics all rolled into one. And if that’s not enough to make someone want to come see this play, I don’t know what is.”
Dramaturg Teresa Kilzi has prepared a guide for patrons to read prior to attending the play. The dramaturgy will be on display in the theater lobby, and an abbreviated version will be given to all attendees with their playbill. Patrons can also download the materials in advance and watch some background videos with the cast and director at theatre.ucf.edu.
“Having a background in literature, physics, and 19th-century England would certainly enhance the experience of seeing Arcadia, but that’s not a combination that most people have. All the audience really needs is an eagerness to know and to learn,” says Kilzi.
“If there were one key piece of information for audience members to know, it would be for them to have a grasp on the erotic and glamorous nature of Lord Byron. He is central to Arcadia, and yet, he never appears in the play. Byron was revered for his work in literature and lusted after by all who knew him, and he used that magnetism to navigate his way through high society.”
Production at a glance:
Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
Directed by Kate Ingram
January 29, 30, 31 at 8 p.m.
February 1 at 2 pm
$20 standard, $18 senior, $10 student
Main Stage, Theatre Building 6, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando
For more information about Theatre UCF, visit http://theatre.ucf.edu.