Some years ago I christened my personal blog "Stirring The Pudding" because of my admiration for Tom Stoppard and his marvelous play Arcadia. My wife and I had seen the play in London and I was immediately moved to want to direct it. It had that marked combination of intellectual depth combined with humor that has always appealed to me. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead gave us its opening series of existential coin flips and Arcadia continues to show Stoppard's fascination with mathematics and philosophy. Both plays ironically, while making pronouncements of indeterminacy, futility, decay, and chaos, illustrate that the theatre can do what physics cannot. In life you cannot remove the color of the jam once stirred into a pudding. Time is irreversible and the 2nd law of thermodynamics ensures that tea, once poured, will only cool. On the stage though, outcomes are pre-determined and you can go back and forth in time and space seamlessly.
I did end up directing Arcadia in the late 1990's and it became one of my favorite productions. Upon our arrival in Tucson two weeks ago, we saw that the Rogue Theatre was doing it and scrambled to get a pair of tickets.
And guess what, you can re-stir the pudding in your imagination. Yesterday I re-lived my own production of the play while seeing another production of it. At times I could see my cast members and hear their voices; at other times the superlative cast of the Rogue company took over the narrative. All I know is at the finish I could waltz again with the past while still acknowledging that life can only move forward not back.
A heartfelt thank you to this fine group of actors and their talented director Cynthia Meier for demonstrating so fully the power of the theatre to make us laugh, love, think, and feel.
Special kudos goes to the entire Rogue Theatre organization and its supporters. We were met with smiles and conversation by staff and audience members alike. The cast was accessible after the show and the talkback was spontaneous and energetic. People who treat customers like this are not only fine artists but also commercial managers of the first order.
If you should find yourself in Tucson, look no further for great theatre than The Rogue Theatre.
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