Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

7 Jun

I’ve just got home from an evening at the theatre. My great friend Paul Brotherton was part of the cast of Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, at the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham.

The play is  set in Sidley Park, an English country house, in both the times of 1809–1812 and the present day. The activities of two modern scholars and the house’s current residents are juxtaposed with the lives of the characters who lived there 200 years ago.

In 1809, Thomasina Coverly, the daughter of the house, is a precocious teenager with ideas about mathematics well ahead of her time. She studies with her tutor, Septimus Hodge, a friend of Lord Byron (who is an unseen guest in the house).

In the present, Hannah, a writer investigating a hermit who once lived on the grounds, and Bernard, a professor of literature investigating a mysterious chapter in the life of Byron work together and together reveal  the truth about what happened in Thomasina’s lifetime is gradually revealed.

The set featured a large table, which is used by the characters in both past and present. Props are not removed when the play switches time period, so that the books, turtle, coffee mugs, quill pens, plastic trays, and laptop computers appear alongside each other as the two scenes blur together.

Paul Brotherton Arcadia

Hi Paul!

When I read the synopsis, prior to attending the play I was uncertain as to whether I would be able to follow such a complex story line. Some of the talk of science and maths flew over my head, but this was somewhat irrelevant to the overall outcome and plot of the play and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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