Saturday, September 19, 2009

as you like it.

As we began school here in London, we were asked to read the play As You Like It by Shakespeare. We later were able to view the play at the Globe Theater. This is the paper I wrote in response as well as some pictures from our outing!

In As You Like it, there are two characters who stole my heart. Rosalind and Celia are two very relatable characters that would help any teenage girl understand Shakespeare a little better. However, although I first fell in love with them in the book, my appreciation grew even stronger when I saw the play and viewed their interpretation of their parts.

This production of As You Like it was performed at the Globe Theater on September 14, 2009. The Royal Shakespeare Company in London England performed it. It was a strong adaptation full of comedy and passion. I enjoyed the use of the pillars on stage as trees and later a backdrop for a wedding. The character of Touchstone was enjoyable in this production with his humor wit and all around goofy performance. He was far less annoying than he was in the book. Even Oliver, the dreaded older brother was likeable as he comes in at the end repentant and in love. I felt the brotherly bond between the two brothers Orlando and Oliver much more in this play then when I read it. Even as they were wrestling, you could still sense their bond that came from growing up together. Even through a great deal of hate, that emotion couldn’t seem to be masked.

As I read the play, I appreciated Celia and Rosalind’s bond and their true love for each other. Their sisterly relationship was so devoted and strong that it was difficult to ignore. However, being a Shakespeare play, everything seemed much more serious and mature. Even when in love or traveling in the wilderness, these characters didn’t seem like young teenage girls but more like mature women. In the actual play, when Rosalind first fell for Orlando both girls were so giddy and silly. I appreciated this so much more because I know that is how I am with my friends in those situations.

When Orlando puts up poems in the trees about Rosalind, Rosalind is very curious. This is the same in the book. However, as the actresses played out the scene where Rosalind is asking Celia about the man who has done that, I was much more intrigued as the girls ran through the stage talking about Orlando. The two characters were giggling, laughing and jumping around. I felt that this conversation could be portrayed a number of different ways. For one, Celia could be resentful and mad that Rosalind was interested in Orlando. She could be disappointed in Rosalind or annoyed with Orlando. But here, we see a normal adolescent intrigued about a new situation.

In Howard’s article about cross-dressing he says that often times as women cross dress, even though they are choosing to be seen as a masculine figure, it becomes more obvious that they are women due to the flaws in their portrayal. That idea wasn’t an obvious one as I read the play, however, as it was being acted on stage, it was clear that Rosalind could never mask her femininity. She was continuously giddy about Orlando, even when others were around. And as they kissed during their fake wedding, she was much more interested in it than a boy would have been. Like Howard says, it is impossible to mask ones true gender even through costumes and slight personality alterations.

As You Like It was a comedic and romantic performance. Once again, Shakespeare’s work jumped off the page and onto the stage to create a masterpiece. Although the plays can each be interpreted in many different ways and performed with many alterations, I was pleased with the result of this particular production. I enjoyed the happiness, humor, and romance a great deal and could relate on a much higher scale.

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