Tuesday, April 28, 2009

As You Like It

I r­emember so little from my high school  (go Miners!) theater days.  What I do remember from that experience seems to be the equivalent to a short, yet entertaining (in the same way your parents’ gritty and embarrassing wedding video is entertaining), montage full of lots of teeth showing and bad renditions of “In My Own Little Corner”, flavored with the usual clichéd painting of sets and the giddy trying on of costumes and funny feathered hats, while ignoring the very obviously placed couple making out everywhere. Ah, the memories…  But there actually was something that I rather inconveniently forgot.  This something was my deep and never-ending love for the Shakespearian play “As You Like It”.  As I recently sat inside that little square, which is Hale Center Theater, the memories all came rushing back to me.  But before that rush or nostalgia, I sat in wonderment as the characters Celia and Rosalind frivolously bantered back and forth about a boy, and then as the snooty Phebe waxed nostalgic over the beauty of the youth she had just fallen in love with.  I knew these lines.  I just sat and said them in my head, word for word, as the lines were being given.   How startled was I over this occurrence!  But after that initial shock, I remembered.  In high school, for every classical scene or monologue I had to do for class, ­I would directly go to my old standard of “As You Like It”.  I really felt some kind of draw towards the playfulness and actual humanity I felt when reading into the characters.  It was always ­my choice and most favored of the Bard’s tales, and I am happy to rediscover just what drew me to it in the first place.

Which is why I might be a little biased towards this play.  Even though I had dragged my feet to get to ­that play, sat by myself next to an unfriendly elderly couple, and then didn’t have enough cash to fund my m&m’s craving, I had the most fun at a play as I have ever had.  As I sat and watched this play­, precariously edged between the silent giggling to a rather embarrassing ­full on eye’s-watering-rolling-in-the-aisles laughter, I completely felt the magic inside­ experiencing brilliant theater­.  It all seemed to come together perfectly for this production, from the details in the costuming, which fit each character’s personality to a tea, as well as nodded the correct nods to the time period portrayed, to the innovative use of the small square theatrical space.  I could breathe my praises to this attention to detail acting.

I would like to shake the hand at whoever brought this cast together.  Not only did the actors act with such profound strength and emotion befitting to­ their characters, but also they really were able to mold and fold­­­ their lines­ around their tongues and mouths, as if they were born speaking Shakespearian English­.  This cast spoke to each other as if they were their characters having this very conversation, making the speech easy to understand and follow.  They spoke to each other rather than speaking at each other, which is a mistake on all accounts.  They had and used their stage chemistry, which is something I have not been able to witness in a good long while.  As a dancer, I was especially pleased to find that this cast wasn’t afraid to really move.  They utilized their bodies in ways to more fully convey their characters.  Plus, when isn’t throwing oneself to the floor simply just the most amusing and satisfying thing to do?  I certainly enjoyed their willingness to roll, shimmy, and dance around a bit, and I’m pretty sure this cast enjoyed is as well.

All in all, I’m pretty sure that I would enjoy seeing­ this production again and again, even if there is a possibility of again being dragged on stage to do that ridiculous springtime dance or whatever that silliness was really called.  This play was a delight and something I would not hesitate to shamelessly plug.  Or even to call up one of my girl friends about after the performance, to ask why she isn’t already madly in love with Alex Ungerman…I mean, who wouldn­’t be in love with him­ after seeing this play? I­’m pretty sure that now I am.  Maybe I will go back and see this play again.

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