Theatre production of ‘Arcadia’ is filled with chemistry

In their first production of the semester, the Cosumnes River College theatre department presents a successful performance of Tom Sheppard’s “Arcadia.”

“Arcadia” takes place in Sidley Park, an English country estate, and fluctuates between the past and present to tell the story of what occurred at the estate years ago. The scenes follow the residents of the estate in the past during the 18th century and two scholars and their acquaintances trying to discover what occurred at the estate many years ago.

The cast’s performance of “Arcadia” is a commendable one. The play is one with a complex and loaded script and it was compelling to see the actors be able to successfully tackle the long monologues and difficult vocabulary, and all in an English accent. Of course, there were some hiccups along the way, a joke that wasn’t understood or a confusing change of scenes, but the cast never missed a beat and were able to carry the play forward.

Chemistry between Jesse Janzen, playing Septimus, and Johanna Pugh, playing Thomasina, made for a successful performance. Passion and dedication for the character’s being played by the cast as a whole made the play more believable and much more enjoyable.

A considerable praise is due for the production team and crew of the play as it featured a wonderful set, beautiful costumes and well-executed design elements.

Scott Gilbert, costume designer, was able to wonderfully marry the costume with each character. Frills and pale colors to show childhood innocence, bold, bright glittering gowns to show the command for the lady of an estate. Even in the scenes with the characters in the present, each costume had details that gave it a direct relation to the character who was wearing it.

Set designer Carrie Mullen made some great choices in adding the large windows and door looking out into the garden. It gave the set the space and range it needed to seem like a room in a large and grand estate. Visually, the set was pleasingly elegant and certainly looked the part of a 19th century study room with books littered around and ornate vintage wooden furniture.

Lighting and sound designer Cary Babka, who also played Richard Noakes, created many wonderful scenes using careful lighting, purposeful sound and interesting tricks with shadows. The ending scene with the silhouettes of the characters dancing as the lights dimmed and music faded made for a delightful finale.

Director Cheri Fortin created a notable production and her success of portraying her vision for “Arcadia” through her cast and design elements was enjoyable to watch and interesting to examine.

“Arcadia” is not an easy play to watch but it is an entertaining one. Through amusing characters, surprising twists and a pleasing artistic demeanor brought to life through a committed cast and a diligent crew, it’s an engaging way to spend some time with friends and family.

“Arcadia” is playing through March 18. To find dates and times, refer to the CRC theatre department’s webpage. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for students.

Rating: 4 out of 5