Tom Stoppard’s ARCADIA is a theatrical challenge across many fronts, intellectually aggressive, scientifically dense with rich characters who live in worlds which mix the carnal and the cerebral. UTS Backstage, the University of Technology Sydney’s theatre society has shown over a decade of existence that it is not afraid of a challenge. And in this production, the company once again displays their solid commitment to both the drama and their audience. This complicated work is treated with respect in an entertaining production which is very well received by its audience.
ARCADIA takes place in one room at Sidley Park, a gracious estate. Initially we see the room in 1809 as a young tutor, Septimus, is setting exercises for his 13-year-old charge, Thomasina, the daughter of the household. When the next scene moves to modern times, originally 1993 on first production, nothing changes in the space. The two ages will share the large table which is the centrepiece of the production and an ancient tortoise which lives between eras. The modern characters include writer/ researcher Hannah who is seeking answers to some elements of the garden and her academic nemesis, Bernard, a professor who is convinced of a Byron connection with Sidley. The stage is set for a delicious, wordy treatise on time and our place in it. Continue reading ARCADIA: STUDENT THEATRE CRAFTED WITH CARE BY UTS BACKSTAGE