Coe Theatre Department to present "Arcadia"

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2009-04-07 13:15:50 - General

Ben Franta '09 (Septimus Hodge) and Jennifer Ettinger '11 (Thomasina Coverly) are featured in theupcoming Coe theatre production of "Arcadia." The performance opens April 14 in the Dows Theatre on the Coe campus.

The Coe College Department of Theatre Arts will present "Arcadia" April 17, 18, 19, 23, 24 and 25 in Dows Theatre on the Coe campus. All performances begin at 8 p.m. except for the Sunday, April 19 performance, which starts at 2 p.m.

Seats are reserved, and tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the door, or by calling the Coe Box Office at 399-8600, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Featuring an all-student cast, "Arcadia" is directed by Dennis Barnett, Coe College associate professor of theatre arts. Talkbacks with the director and cast will be held following the Thursday and Sunday performances.

Written by Tom Stoppard in 1993, "Arcadia" is set in an English house and explores the relationship between past and present and between order and disorder and the certainty of knowledge. A central theme of this erudite, witty comedy is the interrelationship between the past and the present, and the unpredictability of either. The play explores both the passage and the juxtaposition of time - from the Age of Enlightenment to the Romantic Era, from Newtonian determinism to chaos theory, from 18th century neoclassical landscape architecture to the picturesque wildness of 19th century English gardens - all within the context of a contemporary detective story about sexual and academic philandering.

"'Arcadia' is arguably one of the most important and greatest Western theatrical achievements of the last 50 years. It is a very difficult work to label," noted Barnett in his director's comments. "It is, at times, a period comedy in the spirit of Noel Coward or Oscar Wilde and a contemporary one reminiscent of the best of Ayckbourn. It is an intellectual mystery, a play that explores the transition from classicism to romanticism at the turn of the 18th century."

Barnett says the play highlights many academic areas of study, while it is also a love story.

"It is a science play, deftly explaining some of the most recent discoveries in the world of physics, from the second law of thermodynamics to chaos theory to fractal geometry; and perhaps the most impressive accomplishment is that the play not only explains these scientific erudite, but it embodies them, formally demonstrating them as it shifts back and forth from 1809 to the present," said Barnett. "As if this weren't enough to pack into one play, "Arcadia" is also a love story, both tragic and comic in its various portrayals of human strengths and weaknesses as they are each fatalistically determined and driven by our individual desires."

For more information, call 399-8600 or visit