Arcadia Review-A Triumph Through Time

I was given the opportunity to review Arcadia which was my first experience with a Tom Stoppard play. I urge any of you who want a challenging and unique time, to visit the stunning Palm Beach Dramaworks, Don & Ann Brown Theatre for a three-hour investment you will certainly never forget.

 

Caitlin Cohn and Ryan Zachary Ward in 'Arcadia' 2017 - Photo Credit: Samantha Mighdoll

 

The play takes place in two centuries over 200 years apart and reveals the feelings and words reflective of both changing times and similarities in times. Sex, love, health, science, art and music certainly are explored in both 1810 England and 20th century England.  What was most revealing to me was the amount of subject matter that was covered and discussed in such casual terms by the actors who clearly spent a lot of time studying, not only the history, but the complexity of the subject matter presented. As an example, Physics is a hard enough subject to learn and understand  in real time , but the actors were able to discuss physics in a very casual way.

 

Peter Simon Hilton and Vanessa Morosco in 'Arcadia' 2017 - Photo Credit: Samantha Mighdoll

 

To enjoy this show, you must be ready for the nuances of 19th century English and prepare yourself for the quick, funny, sexy banter because it is quick and requires your complete attention. Mr. Stoppard can be witty, serious, emotional and complicated and the actors did a fine job keeping their English precise although sometimes it was a bit too quick for me to keep up with.

 

Caitlin Cohn and Margery Lowe in 'Arcadia' 2017 - Photo Credit: Samantha Mighdoll

 

The casual conversation of sex and love in 1810 by Thomasina (Caitlin Cohn) reminded me of when I was seventeen and did not have the permission or skills to explore these subjects in open conversations with adults. This teenage genius was so interesting that you want to pay particular attention to what she says and how she says it. That was also true to me in the 20th century dialogue between Hannah, who is very compelling played by (Vanessa Morosco) and Bernard  (Peter Simon Hilton). Their banter, swearing and their love hate- mentor - relationship epitimizes the battle today between men and women for recognition and praise.

 

Photo Credit: Samantha Mighdoll

 

Their costuming also reflected their personalities. Hannah is always understated and gender neutral in her costume and Bernard was over the top flashy and colorful in his garb. It was as if Hannah was hiding her femininity to enable her work to identify whom she was, while Bernard was so comfortable, he just went all out in style and color to empress and attract the women of his time. The 19th century garb was appropriate for the time with the exception of Lady Croom (Margery Lowe) who was vivacious, sexy and certainly overt in her dress for her daily adventures.

 

This is clearly a play for the curious and adventurous to go see. I cannot say I completely understood all of the messages Stoppard was giving us in both scenarios, but I did enjoy the fact that I had to pay attention to every word to grasp the humor as well as the emotions of all the characters as they deciphered his intentions to play their parts so flawlessly.

 

This is a show from an author who wants you to think, laugh, analyze, love and enjoy. If you can afford to give yourself a three-hour adventure without cell phones and Ipads, as well as the desire to challenge yourself, please go see Arcadia this month. You will not soon forget this play.  Certainly, it will create conversation.

 

 

 

Arcadia is currently running until April 30th

 

Palm Beach Dramaworks
201 Clematis Street
West Palm Beach, FL  33401
(561) 514-4042

 

For more information visit the Palmbeachdramaworks website

 

 

 

 

 

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