Tickets are now on sale for OSU Theatre’s second main stage production of the season, William Shakespeare’s crowd-pleasing comedy “As You Like It,” running November 20-23.
Set in a French duchy, “As You Like It” involves a handful of lords and ladies who flee the court after the villainous Duke Frederick stages a coup d’état. Among the exiles in the Forest of Arden are Rosalind and Orlando, two romantic leads hopelessly in love with each other but separated by circumstance. Because Rosalind dresses as a boy to escape detection, she passes unnoticed and tests Orlando on the sincerity of his love. Also in the Forest are the court jester Touchstone, who has four or five jokes for every occasion, and the melancholic lord Jaques, who finds everything a reason for despair.
“As You Like It” marks the Stillwater directorial debut of Andrew Kimbrough, who joined the OSU Theatre faculty last year as the new head of the department. “We’ve got song and dance, ridiculous situations, stage violence, and lots of laughs—which is pretty typical for a Shakespeare play,” said Kimbrough. “If you think Shakespeare is boring and stuffy, you’ll think again after seeing this. We promise you a good time. This show is suitable for practically everyone at home, from your teenagers to the retirees.”
Shakespeare died almost 400 years ago, but his plays remain some of the most produced around the world, explained Kimbrough. That’s because the themes and topics of his plays epitomize what the term “classic” means—they remain relevant for many ages and cultures. The comedy “As You Like It” is no different. Themes of tyranny and thwarted love abound in the play, and Kimbrough promises plenty of wrestling and stage fighting in this production. But because it’s a comedy, none of the characters seem too upset by what’s going on. They just as easily break into song or dance.
OSU Theatre presents one production every year as a high school matinee, and this year “As You Like It” plays the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 19, for a crowd of close to 300 young people.
Collaborating with Kimbrough in the creation of the production are many on the Theatre faculty: Heidi Hoffer has designed the set and the lights, Lee Brasuell the sound design, Judith Cronk, with undergraduate Sam Shiveler, designed the costumes, Lloyd Caldwell directed the stage fights, and Peter Westerhoff choreographed the dance.
The cast is very large with 17 students in the ensemble, most playing two or more roles. Featured in some of the key roles are Maddy Cunningham as Rosalind, Paul Knapp as Orlando, Jordan Hill as Touchstone, and Kash Clemishire as Jaques, who has the famous “All the world’s a stage” speech.
The performances run Thursday, Nov. 20, through Saturday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 pm and Sunday, Nov. 23, at 2:30 pm. All performances are in the Vivia Locke Theatre of the Seretean Center for the Performing Arts. Box Office information and links to on-line credit card purchases may be found on the departmental website: theatre.okstate.edu or by calling (405) 744-6094.