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
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
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.