Revista Filipina

Revista Filipina


As You Like It

By William Shakespeare

Monday through Saturday at 7.30 p.m..

at the Frederic Wood Theatre

from January 18-27, 2001,

Tickets : Adults $16, Students and Seniors , $10.

Box Office telephone 822-2678.

An Excellent, Very interesting and Laudable Production

by Jane Penistan

As You Like It at the Frederic Wood Theatre may not be as you like it but it is an excellent, very interesting and laudable production. Stephen Heatley's settings and costumes are contemporary. There are gender changes in some characters to accommodate the limitations of the director's company.

These departures from generally accepted concepts of the play are admirably accomplished. The Elizabethan words of Shakespeare are transported to the 21st century in a totally acceptable present day manner.

The programme notes explain that the text used is one in which Neil Freeman explores the rhythms of speech as they are used by the actors to interpret emotion and dramatic moment The audibility of the cast is excellent... The individual characters are well explored and developed by the actors who therefore deliver their lines with understanding and conviction.

As You Like It is one of Shakespeare's most interesting musical plays. Here, several songs are enthusiastically sung to the settings of Binaifer Kapadia and Julien Arnold, under the direction of Melinda Boyd.

Heatley places some of the audience on stage right and left and gives some actors spotlit entrances through the aisles of the main auditorium, thus drawing the audience into close contact with the cast.

The changing of the two dukes to duchesses and the melancholy Jaques is in direct opposition to the generally accepted idea that Shakespeare's women were played by boys. Playing both the virtuous and the evil duchess by one actor is a difficult assignment for an experienced thespian.

Lori Kokotailo courageously undertakes this dual role. She is more successful as Duchess Senior, than as Frederica, perhaps because she is not yet sufficiently authoritarian. This commanding personality will probably become more part of her characters as the run of the play progresses and the actor gains confidence in her role.

As Orlando, Joshua Reynolds, opens the play with clarity, not an easy task for an inexperienced actor. His is a well sustained performance throughout the evening. As Celia, Eva Lau is enchanting, well aided and abetted by Sarah Henriques' Rosalind. Both girls enjoy the fun of the adventure of running away and the delights of young love.

As Touchstone, Ken Lin's exuberance sometimes overwhelms him. There is no doubt that he revels in the wit and humour of Touchstone and his own athletic ability, but a little more discipline would enhance his performance. Meghan Gardiner's Jaquess is a well controlled. intellectual and altogether delightful character, never overdone. Nicole Braber is an unusual and effective Le Beau.

The costumes designed by Kim Aspden are one of the triumphs of this production. Putting Rosalind and Celia in school uniform sets them apart from the other members of the company and from the outset emphasizes their youth and vulnerability . Their change of clothes puts them into the unprotected world with everyone else, where clothes may disguise a personality or announce a trade or calling. The wearing of rubber boots by all the cast in the pastoral scenes kept everyone aware of the "winter and rough weather" of the "present time" and had a unifying message.

Stephen Heatley is to be congratulated on this production. Not only do his student actors all play together well, they do it with understanding and enjoyment. Having the temerity to translate this pastoral Elizabethan comedy into a twenty first century light hearted comedy requires courage and to make it a success, talent and skill. The future for the Theatre Department at U.B.C looks bright if this is a foretaste of things to come.

Revista Filipina