Shakespeare’s As You Like It @ The Moonlight

I had the privilege this weekend of attending William Shakespeare’s comedy As You like It at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista. This production was put on in collaboration between the Moonlight Cultural Foundation and New Village Arts Theatre. This was the first time a Shakespeare play has been performed at the Moonlight and  it was a great success. As You Like It is not your typical Shakespeare that many are familiar with in plays like Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, and other tragedies. This play was a comedy performed with a more modern flare and I enjoyed it very much. Going into the performance I knew nothing about this particular play and found that I had to pay careful attention to the actors and their dialogue in order to follow along. Shakespearian language is not something you can easily decipher, it requires extensive thought to translate in your head.

As You Like It is the story of poor Rosalind and Orlando who meet, fall in love at first sight and then are both banished from the kingdom for separate reasons at different times. Orlando runs away to the forest of Arden to escape his older brother who has a bounty on his head. Rosalind’s father a duke, has already been banished from the kingdom by his brother and now that same brother decides to banish his niece. So Rosalind runs away to the forest of Arden with her cousin Celia. Rosalind disguises herself as a man and Celia dons the clothing of a shepherdess. The two purchase a cottage and start a new life in the forest of Arden. Meanwhile Orlando has met Rosalind’s father the banished duke and takes up residence with him in a cave with his other Lords who joined him in his banishment. Eventually Rosalind and Orlando meet again, but Orlando does not know it is her due to her disguise. Rosalind convinces Orlando that she can cure him of his love for Rosalind if he will agree to woo her everyday. Eventually Orlando’s brother comes to the forest and falls in love with Celia and a young shepherdess falls in love with Rosalind, who in turn is in love with Orlando, who is love with her, Rosalind. Talk about a serious love triangle going on. Eventually Rosalind convinces Orlando to marry Rosalind if she can produce her, and the young shepherdess to marry her if she desires to, but if not she must marry the shepherd who is in love with her. Rosalind then returns without her disguise as Rosalind and of course the young shepherdess no longer wants to marry her so she is committed to marry the shepherd and Rosalind gets to marry her Orlando. The kingdom gets restored to them all and they live happily ever after. The End.

It is truly a tragic, yet comedic love story that has a happy ending. The actors were sensational, though at times it was hard to hear them. I am not sure whether their mics were not working correctly or they were not projecting their voices enough. My favorite scenes were the ones in which Orlando was trying to who Rosalind disguised as a man. It was quite hilarious and a lot of fun to watch them banter back and forth. There was one scene in the play with men, umbrellas and a deer that made no sense whatsoever with the rest of the story. I am not sure if that was in Shakespeare’s original play or whether it was added. I think it could have been left out of the play all together. Overall I had a great time and enjoyed the production very much. It was enlightening to see another side of Shakespeare.

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October 11, 2010. Art Events.

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