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Arcadia****** Nevada Conservatory  Theatre 2012/2013 Season Written by Tom Stoppard, this play is a truly exquisite intellectual feast. Faced with the mediocrity of contemporary drama, to find a rare gem like this really is an equivalent of a theatrical orgasm. Set in a country house in Derbyshire, England, this drama follows two storylines; one of them takes place between 1809-1812, the other unfolds in modern times. We witness the events in the past, to be immediately shown how they are interpreted (or, quite often, misinterpreted) in the present. One of the central plot elements is the mystery behind the sudden disappearance and presumed death of an aspiring poet, Ezra Chater. Mocked by his peers, Septimus Hodge and Lord Byron, tormented by his flighty and unfaithful wife, Mr. Chater’s fate   provides the spice to the intellectual musings and research that goes on in the manor in both realities. Then there is Thomasina, a mathematical genius demonstrating great promise at the tender age of thirteen, her tutor Septimus; a rather sarcastic and disillusioned young man who nevertheless recognizes the rare talent and later on, also the feminine charms of his pupil. About 200 years later, Hannah Jarvis, a modern day writer tries to establish the identity of the hermit who lived in a small garden house all those years ago. Valentine, the son of the family, attempts to help her while doing his own research about the population of grouses on the estate. Enters Bernard Nightingale, an academic dead set on proving that Lord Byron was a ruthless murderer and willing to overlook actual facts to make his hypothesis work. Young Chloe, Valentine’s sister, is eager to please Bernard while expressing some very interesting theories of her own. Does that sound just a little bit confusing? Well, don’t worry if it does, it will all come together rather beautifully in the end. The scientific concepts addressed in this drama demonstrate such intellectual depth that sometimes it is not easy to grasp the whole genius and complexity of the play. This masterpiece explores the relations between enlightenment and romanticism, the interaction between past and present, chaos and order, reason and emotion, and how everything eventually falls into place to co-exist together in a state of chaotic harmony, or harmonious chaos, whichever way one prefers to look at it. It contains connotations to Mathematics, Metaphysics, Thermodynamics, Physics, Landscaping, Determinism and, of course, the Chaos Theory. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire duration of the performance, constantly amazed, entertained and challenged. The sheer vastness and originality of the ideas really does make one think about issues which, let’s face it, normally would rarely come to mind.  For example if nothing happens randomly and is determined with mathematical precision, then how can you account for the unpredictability of human behavior, governed by passions and emotions? Is sexual drive the element that creates all the ruptures in the order of the universe? And since heat can only be transferred one way, but according to the second law of thermodynamics all the variants sooner or later seek to come to a common equilibrium, is the irreversibility of actions and events comparable? Even if, like the pudding, what is stirred can never be unstirred, does the Universe always find some state of relative equilibrium and thus avoids the creation of complete pandemonium? I wish I knew. But even though the play does not always provide all the answers, it intrigues and inspires us enough to try to find them on our own. What must be mentioned at this point is the important role of humor, if it wasn’t for the brilliant wit the play might have proven to be much too heavy and intellectually demanding, the humor makes all the complicated scientific content easily digestible and presents it in a form which does not bore or discourage with its cerebral demands. The dialog is kept light and breezy, full of entertaining allusions and sarcastic comments. We start laughing in the first scene and never really stop, a very welcome distraction for our brains working at full speed trying to fathom the significance of the events and theories unfolding before our eyes. The Nevada Conservatory Theatre impressed once again with this production. Directed by Christopher V. Edwards, everything somehow seemed just right, starting with the casting, through scenic design (Devin Pierce Scheef), lighting (Josh Wroblewski) and costumes (Mariya Radeva-Nedyalkova). All the actors played their roles to the nines. Jordan Bondurant was brilliantly witty and charming as Septimus Hodge, Angela Jonas displayed just the perfect amount of naïveté and enthusiasm as Thomasina Coverly, Josua Nadler was hysterically funny as the flamboyant Ezra Chater, Lauren T. Mack very convincing as the work-driven Hannah Jarvis, John Maltese vulnerable, yet determined as Valentine Coverly , Paris McCarthy the perfect combination of innocence and sensuality as Chloe and Brooks Asher quite unlikeable as the vile Bernard. A truly unique experience, this drama made me research certain concepts for days afterwards. The best proof that entertainment does not always have to be soulless and brainless. On the contrary. Because a play that makes you think about the Universe in all its mysterious glory is always the best kind.

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Arcadia****** Nevada Conservatory  Theatre 2012/2013 Season Written by Tom Stoppard, this play is a truly exquisite intellectual feast. Faced with the mediocrity of contemporary drama, to find a rare gem like this really is an equivalent of a theatrical orgasm. Set in a country house in Derbyshire, England, this drama follows two storylines; one of them takes place between 1809-1812, the other unfolds in modern times. We witness the events in the past, to be immediately shown how they are interpreted (or, quite often, misinterpreted) in the present. One of the central plot elements is the mystery behind the sudden disappearance and presumed death of an aspiring poet, Ezra Chater. Mocked by his peers, Septimus Hodge and Lord Byron, tormented by his flighty and unfaithful wife, Mr. Chater’s fate   provides the spice to the intellectual musings and research that goes on in the manor in both realities. Then there is Thomasina, a mathematical genius demonstrating great promise at the tender age of thirteen, her tutor Septimus; a rather sarcastic and disillusioned young man who nevertheless recognizes the rare talent and later on, also the feminine charms of his pupil. About 200 years later, Hannah Jarvis, a modern day writer tries to establish the identity of the hermit who lived in a small garden house all those years ago. Valentine, the son of the family, attempts to help her while doing his own research about the population of grouses on the estate. Enters Bernard Nightingale, an academic dead set on proving that Lord Byron was a ruthless murderer and willing to overlook actual facts to make his hypothesis work. Young Chloe, Valentine’s sister, is eager to please Bernard while expressing some very interesting theories of her own. Does that sound just a little bit confusing? Well, don’t worry if it does, it will all come together rather beautifully in the end. The scientific concepts addressed in this drama demonstrate such intellectual depth that sometimes it is not easy to grasp the whole genius and complexity of the play. This masterpiece explores the relations between enlightenment and romanticism, the interaction between past and present, chaos and order, reason and emotion, and how everything eventually falls into place to co- exist together in a state of chaotic harmony, or harmonious chaos, whichever way one prefers to look at it. It contains connotations to Mathematics, Metaphysics, Thermodynamics, Physics, Landscaping, Determinism and, of course, the Chaos Theory. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire duration of the performance, constantly amazed, entertained and challenged. The sheer vastness and originality of the ideas really does make one think about issues which, let’s face it, normally would rarely come to mind.  For example if nothing happens randomly and is determined with mathematical precision, then how can you account for the unpredictability of human behavior, governed by passions and emotions? Is sexual drive the element that creates all the ruptures in the order of the universe? And since heat can only be transferred one way, but according to the second law of thermodynamics all the variants sooner or later seek to come to a common equilibrium, is the irreversibility of actions and events comparable? Even if, like the pudding, what is stirred can never be unstirred, does the Universe always find some state of relative equilibrium and thus avoids the creation of complete pandemonium? I wish I knew. But even though the play does not always provide all the answers, it intrigues and inspires us enough to try to find them on our own. What must be mentioned at this point is the important role of humor, if it wasn’t for the brilliant wit the play might have proven to be much too heavy and intellectually demanding, the humor makes all the complicated scientific content easily digestible and presents it in a form which does not bore or discourage with its cerebral demands. The dialog is kept light and breezy, full of entertaining allusions and sarcastic comments. We start laughing in the first scene and never really stop, a very welcome distraction for our brains working at full speed trying to fathom the significance of the events and theories unfolding before our eyes. The Nevada Conservatory Theatre impressed once again with this production. Directed by Christopher V. Edwards, everything somehow seemed just right, starting with the casting, through scenic design (Devin Pierce Scheef), lighting (Josh Wroblewski) and costumes (Mariya Radeva-Nedyalkova). All the actors played their roles to the nines. Jordan Bondurant was brilliantly witty and charming as Septimus Hodge, Angela Jonas displayed just the perfect amount of naïveté and enthusiasm as Thomasina Coverly, Josua Nadler was hysterically funny as the flamboyant Ezra Chater, Lauren T. Mack very convincing as the work- driven Hannah Jarvis, John Maltese vulnerable, yet determined as Valentine Coverly , Paris McCarthy the perfect combination of innocence and sensuality as Chloe and Brooks Asher quite unlikeable as the vile Bernard. A truly unique experience, this drama made me research certain concepts for days afterwards. The best proof that entertainment does not always have to be soulless and brainless. On the contrary. Because a play that makes you think about the Universe in all its mysterious glory is always the best kind.
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