As You Like It by William Shakespeare (Guthrie Theater, Vineland
|The cast of the Guthrie
Theater production of William Shakespeare's As You Like It,
directed by Joe Dowling.
Photo © Michal Daniel, 2005
Directed by Joe Dowling
Runs through April 17th
Review by Migued Trejo
Groovy Times in the Forest of Arden
The sun has kissed the ice goodbye. Soon the brown sleeping earth will
blossom into a kaleidoscope of color. Spring is here and the Guthrie has
the appropriate play to herald its return.
In a joyful production of “As You Like It”, the Guthrie has
transported Shakespeare’s famous play about the search for love,
freedom, and happiness from 17th century Elizabethan England to the 1960s
– for many a time of experimentation, social change, and spiritual
discovery. There couldn’t be a more perfect fit.
Here is the briefest of synopses: deposed by his younger brother, the
Duke takes refuge in the Forest of Arden accompanied by a royal loyal
few. Rosalind, protected by her cousin, is allowed to remain. However,
when she falls in love with Orlando, the youngest son of one of the former
Duke’s allies, she is herself banished. Disguising herself as a
man, she flees to the forest with her cousin, Celia, and Touchstone, a
court clown. There she happens upon her father and Orlando; undercover
she endeavors to test Orlando’s love. At the end of the play, love
and good cheer reign supreme, all wrongs are righted and everyone seems
to be getting married.
The creative team, led by director Joe Dowling, has created an environment
that puts the play into a familiar context. Helen Q. Huang’s costumes
emphasize the differences between the cold life of the court – tight,
posh, affected high fashion - and the warm earthiness of Arden –
brown furs and leathers with a Native American feel. The transition from
court to forest and later from winter to spring is further supported by
the sets designed by James Noone. The court is a world of harsh straight
angles and geometric shapes while the forest is one of curves and smooth
surfaces. Snow falls but when spring arrives, the universe explodes into
a psychedelic mix of bright colors. Composer Mel Marvin gives Shakespeare’s
songs a folksy feeling that makes you clap your hands and sway with its
These design elements strike a chord even in the minds of audience members
too young to have lived during the 1960s.
Working like an ensemble that has been together for years, the actors
move and speak with masterful ease. The language shines like the star
that it should be. While every actor deserves praise, Bianca Amato and
Drew Cortese, playing Rosalind and Orlando, merit special recognition.
Amato lends to her character an expressive face, excellent comic timing,
and a youthful energy; faithfully embodying the wit, vitality, and exuberance
of Rosalind. Her romantic counterpart Orlando is played by Cortese with
an openness and clarity which serve the constancy and strength of his
character. Their chemistry onstage is hard to forget.
Overall, “As You Like It” is boisterous, lighthearted, funny,
and everything else you might look for in a comedy. Throughout the play,
its characters poetically consider the nature of love and life. The famous
“all the world’s a stage” monologue, delivered by Richard
S. Iglewski playing Jacques, is one of most touching and profound moments
I’ve experienced in theatre. The Guthrie has put together a superlative
production. If you don’t see this show you’ll miss a wrestling
match that would put the WWF to shame, a Supreme and glamorous goddess
Hymen, and far-out metal trees with groovy tops – to name a few.
Miguel Trejo is at email@example.com
As You Like It runs through April 17th. For tickets call the box office
at 612-377-2224 or Toll-free: 1-877-44STAGE.