All entries for Tuesday 13 May 2008

May 13, 2008

Video now online

Our first video is now online! To view it, simply go to our website and click on 'E-Resources'.

In this video...

Bernard:     Quarks, quasars - big bangs, black holes - who gives a shit? (Scene 5)

Maths in Arcadia

Thomasin and Sam talk about the role of maths in Arcadia. Why is there maths in this play? What does it do? Is it scary?

Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment on this post or by e-mailing

Last night's rehearsal: layering time

It's getting very close to the crunch by now, and you can really feel the tension starting to build in rehearsals. Last night was our first opportunity to run a scene in the studio, and the thing that most impressed itself on us was the enormous amount of space we've got to fill. There's bloody tons of it. Our table is stranded in the middle of it all like a boat caught in a storm – especially so given the new angle it's been placed at to provide better sight lines. Most of the night was spent trying to tease out the blocking we had done in tighter spaces around the table to fill the full breadth of the studio space. It was nice to stretch Valentine's legs a bit, and Kate certainly had a good time making Lady Croom lead Noakes around upstage like a stray puppy.

We were tackling Scene 7, and it wasn't easy going. The nature of the scene's two overlapping time lines make our cues complete non-sequiturs and all the more difficult to learn. But learn we did, and aside from a few line fluffs that will without a doubt be cleared up by Thursday. Jon informs us the night's results were very strong. The trick was not to be afraid of repetition. The way to get a scene like this to work is run it through until it sticks: physical memory is a great help in this kind of situation. The interleaving of different characters' lines and movements in different time periods is starting to look sharp and stunning, particularly the final waltzing sequence between Fiona and Rob, and Matt and Thomasin. I'm quite jealous of their deft feet.

Sam Sedgman plays Valentine Coverly

Tickets are now available!

We're a week away from the opening night and tickets are now available!

As this is an educational performance, tickets are absolutely free but must be booked in advance with Peter Kirwan who can be found in the CAPITAL office in Millburn House.

Where is Millburn House?
Millburn House is located on Millburn Hill Road on the University of Warwick campus, to the east of University House. On the campus map, it is building 38.

When booking your tickets, bear in mind there will be a post-show talk after Thurday's show with the cast and creative team, hosted by the Director of the CAPITAL Centre, Carol Rutter. No extra ticket is required for this event.

If you have any queries about tickets, e-mail us at

Week 5
Tuesday - Thursday, 7.30pm; Saturday, 1.30pm
(20-24 May 2008)

How exciting - see you there! 

I need to find a what?

A prop rabbit being held by its ears

When initially volunteering to stage manage Arcadia, I had absolutely no clue what it was about, except that it was a Tom Stoppard play and that I kind of liked Tom Stoppard. I also knew I was an experienced stage manager, having worked on three other productions in that role, and felt I had the necessary resourcefulness to find props. After all, how many props could there be? The answer to that question is: a lot. A lot of props.

It was then that I enlisted the help of Katie as an assistant stage manager. Not only was the amount of props rather large, there were also quite a few obscure ones in there, not to mention stacks of books. Due the play's double time-frame, many of the books have to be duplicated, one version for the 1809 sections of the play, and one version for the 1993 sections of the play. So, books that look like other books. It sounds difficult, but for this the DC cupboard (while insanely disorganised) proved a valuable resource, as there were stacks of leather-bound books in similar colours of varying shapes, and Ben (the producer) and I spent an interesting afternoon organising and selecting the ones we liked best out of the two-shopping-baskets-worth we had transported to the CAPITAL Centre.

Other props, such as two 19th century pistols, a dead rabbit and a tortoise were slightly more obscure to find, and I can honestly say that we were very lucky; one of my friends from my theatre course had a pair of replica old-fashioned pistols, and one of the actors happened to have a taxidermed tortoise lying around (I didn't ask), as well as a friend we could source some rabbit skins from. When trying to find props, you only get what you ask for, so ask around. Other things, like a period tea set, were found in charity shops and recycling centres. The next step in the stage management side of Arcadia will be sitting in on rehearsals and mapping out what personal props the actors need, then the props come onstage, from where, and when they come offstage and with whom, so that as a team Katie and I know the play back to front and can make sure that everything runs smoothly during every performance.

Hannah Tottenham
Stage Manager

The Art of Directing

Follow-up to Arcadia at The Art of Directing from Arcadia Rehearsal Blog

A brief note on The Art of Directing. We showed Scene One and, for the most part, I was happy with it. It is still very much part of a play in the middle of rehearsal but the cast dealt well with an audience laughing and managed to keep it interesting despite the lack of costumes and props.

The audience was probably the most interesting part of the event for me. Listening to where people laugh when they don’t know the show and seeing how the pace of the scene shifts rapidly (from a joke about rice pudding to a mathematical deconstruction of how fluid physics works, say) and how an audience responds to that was an important part of the process for me. I’ll be deconstructing scenes with the cast with this specifically in mind and trying to moderate the pace accordingly.

The feedback we received from the panel was encouraging. As I expected, they picked up on the blocking but congratulated us on our obvious knowledge of the text and the subtleties beginning to emerge in the character relationships (which I of course took full credit for!). And, since we had fifty people in the room watching, we’ve also begun to spread the word….

Rob Marks

May 2008

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