Lunario’s As You Like It – never read this Shakespeare comedy, knew next to nothing. Maybe even less that than. Fine. If the day was any indication – then maybe the night and the play from the London National Theatre would be a surprising…
Rushing home, (Do I smell gas?) walking the dogs, coming back, YES! I smell gas! – checking with the neighbor for gas leaks, NOTHING, opening windows hitting the metro, meeting in the 45 minutes travel time from insurgents to Auditorio, (HOT HOT HOT TODAY!) finally getting to Prego with 60 minutes before showtime and yes, 8 tickets and it was absolutely one of those mysterious nights, out of 8 3 showed and really 3 for a bit – and losing one more, so out of ticket attendees present – it was that kind of night. Count in flooding, dehydration, exhaustion, Puck was out in full form for Shakespeare on this night, April 11th!
Expect the unexpected and that is what happens as a result of As You Like It. Not knowing what to expect, the set of a busy office begins the setting of brother against brother, banishment and the daughter behind, the chance encounters of banished daughter and unofficial banished son, supporting friend and non-banished daughter, wow. The hurriedness of relationships that run into each other are brilliantly exhibited through the busy atmosphere in the above-average hectic office – loud colors – complete with a luche libre wrestle-like match in the middle of the office, that started the misadventures into the woods of Arden.
It might not sound like Midsummer Night’s Dream or Twelfth Night YET, but yet, the similarities as the plot unfolds in unmistakable. Rosalinda who disguises herself as a boy, the false love of someone who is ACTUALLY not a man at all, the star-crossed strangers that bump and interact into each other throughout the wood, are just a few mirrors into the traits that Shakespeare has brought in countless other productions, as well as in As You Like it.
You learn to expect the unexpected as well with how characters that seemed slightly taking backstage, taking full front stage by the middle to end of this production. Out of all the characters, Celia played by Patsy Ferran and Jacques played by Paul Chahidi– wow – they were – they just DID it and broke through SO MANY TIMES! The hysterical nature of the show definitely did pick up even more in the second half as the connections that were leading to hilarious moments built up and culminated after the intermission.
As I began to see the traits Shakespeare has left behind in As You Like It, similarities found in many other of Shakespeare’s productions, I remember Dr. Kopper. I remember drawn to as many Shakespeare lit classes as possible because I walked out of his lectures knowing so much more than I thought I would when I went it. Imagine Macbeth and ONE WHOLE page – from top to bottom of one to two-word phrases, and in its entirety, those phrases and single words, after going through them, and know ing how they told the tale of Macbeth, you walked away KNOWING Macbeth. True that, I learned this over and over, in this fashion, over many a night “interpreting” every word that was a clue in meaning.
I never thought I’d EVER get to a point where I’d ever truly Shakespeare, and yet, here I am in 2016, and seeing so many connections and meaning in Shakespeare’s lines that I thought I would never figure out. I never thought I would realize how deep and how diverse Shakespeare has reached to on so many years, and be able to understand those far reaching connections and yet, now they come rapid-fire. I couldnt;t help but think how I viewed so many things 10 years ago as impossible and looking back at them now and saying, “How did I not see that happening?!”
Watching the behind the scenes talk with actors during the break, you could see the complete hilarity and enjoyment that had in being a part of this production- of what rituals people did before the show, what motivated them, and seeing all the cast relaxed and joking because this production allowed for that mentality – all in the same order and sync that the whole cast did to pull off the full range of hilarity to the audience.
Yes, Rosalie Craig did a GREAT job of pulling of dual gender roles through as well, Joe Bannister certainly pulled off an unlikely success story by the end of the production and playing the underdog hero of the whole story.
Let’s discuss the set. WHOA. If you were slightly disinterested in the office structure as the play starts, then the second set you resembled creativity. Those very same office furniture supplies became the jungle, trees, the forest itself for the rest of the production and worked brilliantly. AND flattering. It seems as the hilarity built, you became drawn in more and more of it as the production went forward. The one way I would want to not forget As You Like It, this was definitely it – it stuck with you.
What was not expected was the dialogue to the audience on the part of Rosaline (Rosalie Craig) and yet – it did finalize things. Yet, is there a final to Shakespeare? If there is anything I have learned, there is no final to Shakespeare, as evidence through this year’s Lunaria productions. Such is the experience of life itself and it seemed Shakespeare had more than a handful grasp on that idea. Years later, thanks to life, Dr. Edward Kopper, and the ability to transfer lines to lines in life’s experience, you realize this…life is a comedy in itself, if you look closely, there is a little bit of Puck everywhere 🙂