SEPTIMUS: When we have found all the meanings and lost all the mysteries, we will be alone, on an empty shore.
THOMASINA: Then we will dance….
Some things are worth making a little effort for. Other things are worth going out into a howling blizzard for. No sane person would have gone out last night to see Arcadia, especially when they’d already seen it on Thursday (with Rysmiel) and on Friday (with Isaac).
But there was a direct bus from the end of the street, and what is forty centimetres of snow to the last night of a play?
There’s something so wonderfully ephemeral about a play. It’s not like any other art form, really. It’s a text, and it’s a production from a text. Before and after, there is the text only, and there may be other productions, but each performance is once and forever, and each production rises from the text as a recognisable but quite different phoenix. I like to see productions of good plays more than once, to hold what I can of them in my memory when they’re gone.
It was a Dawson drama school production with a superb Valentine, a solid Septimus, very good Lady Croom and Bernard, merely decent Chater and Brice, and alternating Thomasinas, Hannahs and Chloes — Thursday (and last night’s) Thomasina and Chloe were notably better, but both Hannahs were terrific. Seeing it with alternating female leads was odd, it did things to the theme, as if the men might go on dancing night after night with different women who were in essence the same women. Here and now don’t matter, bodies don’t matter, the phoenix will be consumed…
Arcadia is a very funny play about time, entropy, sex, gardens, integrity, science, romanticism, classicism, reviews, provenance, algebra, research, love, death and fractals.
If you get the chance, I highly recommend making any necessary effort to see it.