Arcadia on the Wabash: A Film

Sidney was aristocratic but also artistic, emotional, and even musical. In this film version of a scene from the Arcadia, Brianna Lewings and Kenneth McNeil team up to portray Pyrocles disguised as Zelmane, at the point where or she reveals her) true identity to Philoclea, played by Kailie Merida. The film was sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Purdue University.

Even though Zelmane and Pyrocles are one person in the book, the director, Jason Doty, assigned the part to two different actors because he believed a metamorphosis would be more convincing to a modern audience than a cross-dressed adolescent.

We scrounged costumes, scouted locations, looked at the calendar, and found we had exactly one day when everyone’s schedule was free, October 21, 2017.  We shot outdoors, working around the sound of airplanes, motorboats, and a very long freight train that blew its whistle at every minor road crossing in southwest Tippecanoe County.

We were lucky in the weather, which allowed the Wabash River to play a starring role in the scene and provide a visual equivalent for Sidney’s complex verbal metaphors. Zelmane drops tears into the stream that flows to sea, asking it to pause and pity the love that burns inside her. After his transformation, Pyrocles resumes his watery message, telling Philoclea that he drowns in his tears even as he burns in love for her, reminding her that he almost drowned and burned in the fiery shipwreck that brought him to Arcadia. Philoclea is less concerned with teardrops than deception. She lectures Pyrocles on virtue and shows that she knows how to establish physical limits, despite her own infatuation.

Search “Arcadia Sir Philip Sidney Ross” on YouTube or


Brianna Lewings as Zelmane.

Brianna Lewings as Zelmane.