For the upcoming Dundee-Crown High School fall play, director and English teacher Heather Hoffman will challenge audiences and stretch the intellectual capabilities of the 9-person cast with Tom Stoppard's witty "Arcadia."
The play runs today and Saturday in the high school auditorium, 1500 Kings Road, Carpentersville. Both shows begin at 7 p.m. Tickets, which are available at the door, are $5 for adults. Children 14 and younger and seniors are $4.
"Arcadia," widely considered one of Stoppard's best works, shifts back and forth between 1809 and present day in an English country house called Sidley Park. Hoffman said the relationship between characters is the defining feature of Stoppard's 1993 work.
The 1809 inhabitants include a precocious teenage girl named Thomasina Coverly whose ideas about mathematics are innovative for the time. Thomasina is tutored by Septimus Hodge, a friend of Lord Byron. Byron is an unseen guest at the house.
The present-day occupants of the house are a writer, Hannah Jarvis, a literature professor, Bernard Nightingale, and a postgraduate mathematics student, Valentine Coverly. All are researching aspects of life at Sidley Park between 1809 and 1812.
"It is very philosophical and uses language that they are not used to," Hoffman said of the script that uses 19th Century colloquialisms and modern English ones. "The play is very articulate and educated, so students are pulled out of their high school ways of looking at the world and are forced to look at it in a more philosophical, adult and interesting way."
Thomas Rodman, the high school's freshman academy coordinator, said in a news release, "'Arcadia' is a delightfully funny and thought-provoking play, which will both challenge students and showcase their many talents, and should thoroughly entertain members of our community. It involves the creativity and hard work of many different students in many different areas."
The crew designed and constructed a seating platform that will allow the audience to sit onstage with the actors.