Thursday, April 22, 2010

Theatrical Review: As You Like It

Theatrical Review: As You Like It
Written by: William Shakespeare
Directed by: Margaret Joyce Ball
Theatrical Review by: Paul Adam Smeltz

The East Stroudsburg University (ESU) Department of Theatre presented their production of “As You Like It” written by William Shakespeare. This comic masterwork is filled with all the political intrigue, cross gender insights, and the delightful frivolity the bard is well known for. This production of the work takes advantage of all these elements to great and pleasing effect.

This production of the play is set in a Caribbean nation which is ruled by Duke Frederick (as portrayed by Doug Brehony who also served the production as one of its Scenic Artists) who is an usurper of his brother Duke Senior aka Ferdinand (as portrayed by Angelo Revilla III) who is the rightful leader who is now living in exile. In the midst of this political struggle, the younger son of loyalist Sir Rowland de Boys named Orlando (as portrayed by Michael Demyan) meets and falls in love with Rosalind (as portrayed by Rachael Mack) who is the daughter of Duke Senior and niece of Duke Frederick.

As the play progresses, Orlando is forced to leave his home by Orlando’s elder brother Oliver (as portrayed by Ryan Castro) and his servant Dennis (as portrayed by Joey Dougherty) after winning a bout with Charles the Duke’s Wrestler (as portrayed by Brendan McKeown) and leaves with his servant Adam (as portrayed by Shamus Halloran). Rosalind soon goes into exile disguised as a man with her cousin Celia (as portrayed by Erin Lanza) and their clown Touchstone (as portrayed by Alexander P. Writh). They soon encounter Duke Senior along with an assortment of characters who fills the stage and the hearts of the audience with humor and good spirits.

These characters include Lady Amiens (as portrayed by Karen Guilliams), Jaques (as portrayed by Gabryal Rabinowitz) whose melancholy nature eloquently notes “All the world’s a stage,” Corin (as portrayed by Ryan Drozd), the country vicar Lady Olivia Martext (as portrayed by Meg Dowling while serving as one of the production‘s Carpenters and Scenic Artists), William (as portrayed by Tyler Adams), Hymen (as portrayed by Michelle Jones), the second son of Sir Rowland de Boys Jaques (as portrayed by Anthony Risnondo), and Audrey (as portrayed by Jessica Pachuta) who cha-chas her way across the stage and into Touchstone’s lecherous heart. The Ladies and Lords of Duke Senior’s court included Stephanie Clare, Andrew M. Confair, Cassandra Daily, Joey Dougherty, Michelle Jones, Kuan-Kuei Lin, and Keighty Simmons (who also served as one of the production‘s Costume Assistants).

The comedy of the play was enhanced with the introduction of a Shepherd named Silvius (as portrayed by Luke Thomas Swierczek while serveing as one of the production‘s Carpenters and Electricians) and a shepherdess named Phoebe (as portrayed by Merrill McGuinness while serves as one of the production‘s Scenic Artists and Carpenters). In an effort to help the young Silvius to win the heart of the temperamental Phoebe, Rosalind (in her manly disguise) chastises her and unwittingly wins her heart. This adds an delightful complication to the plot which leads the play to a conclusion of heterosexual marital bliss. This is followed by more happy news as Duke Senior is restored to his leadership role when his wayward brother decides to adopt a religious life. Who knew?

In spite of what might be considered a contrived ending, Shakespeare’s mastery of the written word shines through. And, this brilliance could not be reflected more brightly by the very talented cast and skilled direction embodying this production. It is a pleasure to watch as it brings the work to a jubilant performance.

The East Stroudsburg University (ESU) Department of Theatre production of “As You Like It” written by William Shakespeare was Directed by Margaret Joyce Ball and Stage Managed by Michelle Tuite (who also served as the production’s Carpenter, Property Assistant, Electrician, and Costume Assistant) as assisted by Melissa Sherry (who also served as the production’s Carpenter, Property Master, and Electrician) and Laura Sollazzo (who also served as the production‘s Carpenter and Electrician). The Set and Costumes were designed by Yoshinori Tanokura, the Lighting was designed by Wilburn Bonnell, Megan Carpenter was the production’s Choreographer, Ken Larson was the production’s Technical Director, Kate Dembesky was the production’s Light Board Operator, Ahleea Zama was the production’s Sound Board Operator, Felicia Revero was the production’s Wardrobe Mistress and a Costume Assistant, and the production’s Master Carpenter, Master Electrician, and Shop Foreman was Robert McIntyre who also served in the production’s running crew. Zenobia Colah and Sarah Martins served as Property Assistants, Samantha Hildebeitel sereve as one of the production’s Carpenters, Elyse Burnett, Paul Cenci, Tyreek Majette, and Kendrick Williams were part of the running crew, the Hair and Makeup Designer/Artist was Laura Fiore, the House manager was Sarah Broson, Box Office Managers were Tim Hahn and Brian Foley, and the Poster and Program Cover Design for the production was done by Katherine Bach

This production of “As You Like It” will continue its run at The East Stroudsburg University (ESU) in East Stroudsburg, PA at The University’s Fine and Performing Arts Center in it’s Smith-McFarland Theatre until April 25th and is recommended for those who wish to a fun night at the theatre enjoying some classic comedy done very well. Please contact The East Stroudsburg University (ESU) Theatre Department at 570-422-3483 for more information and to reserve your ticket.

No Photographs were provided.

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