Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

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10% as I Liked It

It's hard enough being the niece of a hated and deceased nobleman but on top of that Rosalind is kicked out by the Duke or the head of the student council or whatever the fuck he was supposed to be in another production of a Shakespeare play moved to a different time and place. A production of As You Like It I saw to-day in a pretty nice venue, a really small theatre in the round with only about five rows of seats so everyone was very close to the actors. Mostly I think I enjoyed myself, the actors delivered the lines well, but I disliked or was ambivalent about every creative departure from Shakespeare's play.

The actors were all young, I felt like this may have been some kind of student production. This was a particular problem for the character of Adam who is supposed to be elderly, and most of the dialogue about him is rumination on being old. The actor wasn't given even a little ageing make-up. This may have been partly due to the fact that he played two other characters and had to change costume quickly, another problem with this production which may not have been the fault of the people making it, maybe they just didn't have enough money to pay actors. But they might have at least not had the guy who brings news of the Duke's epiphany and conversion at the end be the same guy who played the Duke. Maybe it was a statement about identity? Who knows what that statement is.

Several male characters were cast with women, including Corin the shepherd, Le Beau the courtier, and Jacques, the melancholy nobleman who has the "All the world is a stage" soliloquy. The female Jacques was played by Amy Blackman, an English actress so I wondered if she was related to Honor Blackman. She wasn't bad, playing the role as a sort of beatnik psychoanalyst but the directer decided to insert between scenes odd interludes where Jacques slowly chases a woman wearing a deer hear and white dress with an arrow in her thigh. The scenes were sort of pretty but seemed very out of place with the rest of the production, the deer apparently being the one referred to in dialogue as being watched by Jacques and then later it's implied that it's the stag that was killed.

Daniel Petzold was okay as Orlando, Ally Carey was a flat, one note as Rosalind. The 1950s setting never had the slightest resonance with the story, it didn't match up with the dialogue literally or thematically and was obviously just an indulgence, especially since the musical arrangements for the songs, which ejected most of Shakespeare's lyrics, sounded more like Adam Levine than Ricky Nelson, or any other musical style native to the 50s.

I don't mind the gender swapping (though why no female characters cast with men?), for the most part I don't think it made any difference, but, and this may have been more a problem with the creative setting, it was a little unclear exactly what Corin did. They refer to her as shepherdess but she was dressed in scarf and straw pork-pie with a little blazer like, well, a college student. Her talking to Touchstone about working with sheep was like watching Jennifer Aniston describe what it's like to plough a field.
Tags: as you like it, shakespeare, stage play, william shakespeare
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