The Mendocino College Theatre Arts Department will present Tom Stoppard’s exhilarating play Arcadia in March. Performances will run March 11-20 in Mendocino College’s Center Theatre on the Ukiah Campus. The play, under the direction of adjunct theatre instructor Jason Davis, features a cast of 12 extraordinary local performers, including eight full-time college theatre conservatory students. According to Davis, “the play is full of wit and humor. It explores the deep underpinnings of humanity and science, loss and discovery. It is a feast of words and meaning.”
Arcadia opens on Friday March 11, 2016. Performances will run for two weekends only, through March 20. Performances are Friday March 11 at 8 PM, Saturday March 12 at 8 PM, Thursday March 17 at 7:30 PM, Friday March 18 at 8 PM, Saturday March 19 at 8 PM and Sunday March 20 at 2 PM. Tickets ($20 general; $15 students and seniors) are available at the Mendocino Book Company, Mendocino College Bookstore, and online at www.ArtsMendocino.org . The performance on Thursday March 17 is a special discount night, with all tickets costing only $10. Audiences are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance.
Arcadia takes place on an English country estate and alternates between two time periods, 1809 and the present. The 1809 plot revolves around the relationship of Thomasina, a young mathematics prodigy and her tutor Septimus Hodge. The famous Romantic poet Lord Byron is visiting the estate whose residents include the fictional second-rate poet Ezra Chater. As the gardens of the estate are transformed from a design of Classical era balance into an environment of Romantic era emotional excess, the intrigue among the characters mirrors this transformation as well. Thomasina’s intellect blossoms along with her sexuality, and intrigues among the other characters lead to the threat of violent displays. Meanwhile, on the same estate in the contemporary time, several modern characters investigate the mystery of what actually transpired in the house 200 years earlier. According to college theatre professor Reid Edelman, the play’s producer, “Arcadia is a thrilling intellectual and emotional journey which ranges over the nature of truth and time. The play explores mysteries that engage the minds and hearts of characters whose passions and lives intersect across scientific planes and centuries.”
The play showcases the emerging talents of eight Mendocino College conservatory students. Among these are Joy Brown and Thomas Kenney as the prodigy Thomasina and her tutor Septimus Hodge. Also performing in the 1809 period are Ari Sunbeam as the humorously pathetic writer Ezra Chater and Kristin Hills as the matriarch Lady Croom. The cast of the modern period includes Will Schlosser, Leonello Simmons and Melissa Chapman as Valentine, Bernard and Hannah respectively. The cast also includes Kevin Klay, Meghan Baker, Sasha Guleff, Vincent Collins-Smith and Jonathan Whipple. The play is appropriate for most audiences, though it does contain some strong language and sexual innuendos. It will be most appreciated by those ages 12 and older.
The production features impressive scenery, lighting and costumes, created by Mendocino College students under the direction of faculty & staff members Kathy Dingman-Katz, David Wolf, Steve Wilson and Dan Spears. The play features original choreography by conservatory student Melany Katz and properties designed by Virginia Guleff. The sound design has been created by Mendocino College recording arts students under the guidance of recording arts professor Rodney Grisanti. The play is being stage managed by conservatory student Virginia Hanley with the assistance of Ali Gully, Melany Katz and Ilena Yeru Pegan.
For information, call (707) 468-3172 or visit http://www.mendocino.edu/the-arts/theatre.