Stars of King’s latest production, “Arcadia.” (Photo courtesy of King’s College Theatre.)

The King’s College Theatre Department proudly presented “Arcadia” by Tom Stoppard from Nov. 14-18 in the George P. Maffei II Theatre. The show nearly sold out or sold out completely on most nights of performance.

The 1995 winner of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play, “Arcadia” switches between the years from 1809 to 1812 and also to the present day, all while following the story of two modern scholars whose lives are tangled with those who previously lived in an English country house. 

In 1809 Thomasina Coverly, a precocious and exceedingly gifted teenager, studies with her tutor Septimus Hodge, a friend of the infamous Lord Byron. In the present, writer Hannah Jarvis investigates a hermit who once lived on the grounds as Professor Bernard Nightingale studies a mysterious chapter of Lord Byron’s life. As their investigations unfold and questions slowly beget answers, Lord Byron’s absence becomes the noted missing aspect.

“It’s kind of what you wish could happen when you research,” said dramaturge Sarah Scinto, senior.

Although a comedy, “Arcadia” becomes a bit intellectual. Assistant stage manager for the show Amy Brown said, “The difficulty came mostly from the language. It’s written in high British accents with British humor. You can’t just read it once and know what’s going on. There are a ton of layers and it’s hard for the cast to get the story to the audience.”

Of the difficulties of working on the show, Brown said, “The time switches aren’t really a problem. The actors cue off of each other but they don’t live in each other’s world. So they have to meld. That’s tough.”

Director Sheileen Corbett said in an interview with WRKC that a major difficulty was “having to keep straight what is new and old, and what is the history and what is being presented as current day.”

Corbett also said, “We had a shortened rehearsal period to being with, which got shortened because of Hurricane Sandy. But, as usual, everybody pretty much just stepped up their game.”

Scinto also applauded the cast and crew for bringing the whole production together in such a short period of time. “The cast really pulled it together, even meeting separately to go over lines because of the lost rehearsal days.”

Audience members were surprised to see the introduction of a live tortoise on the stage, switching between time periods. The initial hope was to let the tortoise roam the stage freely. But, as Scinto said, “During rehearsal one night, it began to pee all over the props. So we had to build a crate for it. Luckily enough, it isn’t a very fast mover.”