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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Performance Review: ‘Arcadia’ overflows with wit, energy and spectacle

Photo by Ari Ismail for The Lafayette
Septimus Hodge and Thomasina Coverly are played by Peter Canevari ’23 and Ani Brutus ‘26, respectively.

Do you ever wish “Bridgerton” included more discussions of chaos theory and Romantic poetry? If you’re intrigued, then be sure to snag a ticket to “Arcadia,” a Lafayette College production that premiered this past Wednesday and will be running for five days until Sunday, Oct. 2.

“Arcadia,” which was originally written by the British playwright Tom Stoppard, alternates between two storylines, one in the past and one in the present, to explore concepts of time, entropy, epistemology and uncertainty.

In 1809, the precocious Thomasina Coverly, played by Ani Brutus ‘26, studies math and physics with her tutor Septimus Hodge, played by Peter Canevari ‘23.

Centuries later in the same house, Hannah Jarvis, Bernard Nightingale and Valentine Coverly — played by Kate Bettez ‘23, Timothy Mayrose ‘23 and Cormac Hurley ‘24, respectively — collaborate on research regarding the English poet Lord Byron and his connection to the house’s residents during Thomasina’s time.

As the play progresses, the past and present correspond, converge and contradict until the audience finally understands the truth of what happened in the house centuries ago.

Although the play grapples with lofty ideas about math, physics and the nature of evidence, the dialogue is sharp and witty, requiring actors who know how to switch between philosophical musings and raunchy innuendos with ease. The cast does not shy away from this challenge.

Brutus is quick and charming as Thomasina, convincingly portraying the bright teenager. Despite Septimus’ sometimes smarmy personality, Canevari’s depiction makes him an impossibly likable character. Their chemistry on stage was a joy to watch.

In the present day, Bettez and Mayrose have hilariously biting banter. It was riveting to watch them exchange intellectual blows. Hurley brings energy and humor to the stage, and I never failed to smile at his lines.

The rest of the cast didn’t disappoint either. Whether it was Matthew White ‘23 giving a hundred percent as the eccentric Ezra Chater or Carly Johnson ‘24 and her spirited performance as Chloe Coverly, there was never a dull moment on stage.

In addition to the fun, lively performances, the set design also kept me on the edge of my seat. Without spoiling anything, the set, props, tech and lighting are just as dynamic as the rest of the show.

Another element of note are the costumes, which are personally my favorite part of any period piece. Although I can’t comment on the accuracy of the costumes, I found Thomasina and Septimus’ costumes, especially in the latter half of the show, to be absolutely gorgeous.

“Arcadia” will be director and theater professor Suzanne Westfall’s “swan song,” according to the production’s program, as this is the last play she is directing before her retirement. With its stunning set, razor-sharp wit and larger-than-life performances, “Arcadia” feels like the perfect grand finale for her prolific directorial career.

Learn how to get your own ticket to “Arcadia” at

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About the Contributors
Shirley Liu, Managing Editor
Shirley Liu manages, edits, and manages edits.
Ari Ismail, Staff Photographer

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