Spring has sprung, and not a moment too soon, so has As You Like It at Great Lakes Theater.
Full disclosure: I work for Great Lakes. But I will also mention that I have developed serious attitude about As You Like It. It is such a popular piece of work, and is performed so often, that in spite of my being, in a word, sick of this play, I have now seen it eight times.
Eight times. Second only to the number of times I have seen Hamlet - and I will travel to see Hamlet. I will watch it on TV.
You can read a full account of my numerous opportunities to see As You Like It here. But now, allow me to enumerate just a few of the many reasons that the current production at Great Lakes is the best production of As You Like It I have ever seen (apologies to all other productions, you were all very pretty):
- Director Edward Morgan has created dramatic tension which provides context for the behavior of the villains. For example, Orlando is usually just this handsome, put-upon guy. As performed by Torsten Johnson (who is very attractive, with or without a shirt) his bitterness towards his oppressive brother Oliver manifests itself in actual menace. He is a capable, strong, motivated individual. No wonder Oliver feels threatened. This is just one example where Morgan has made a surprising discovery that illuminates and expands on the text.
- Touchstone is really difficult. First off, he makes jokes which probably played very well for Shakespeare’s audience, but in the mouth of a modern actor don’t make any sense. He must be a true comedian - he can’t just say funny things, he has to say things funny. Also, he’s kind of an asshole, whining about everything, and expressing contempt for everyone. Dustin Tucker embraces all of Touchstone’s flaws unapologetically, but also never stops playing for the crowd, like a true clown. He is brash and unafraid and totally sells the mustard bit. He also does a nifty two-step.
- David Anthony Smith as Jaques, performing the Seven Ages of Man. Enough said.
Distance: 3.25 miles
DARE - Gorillaz
Touch the Sky - Kanye West ft. Lupe Fiasco
Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz ft. De La Soul
Pon de Replay - Rihanna
Badass - The Crystal Method
Marvo Ging - The Chemical Brothers
Tear You Apart - She Wants Revenge
Distance: .85 mile
That was an unhappy run. Sometimes she asks to run, but then the process of putting on the shoes becomes an issue. I won't go into the details. It is enough to say I am not convinced it is the shoes, because I am sure this behavior doesn't manifest itself at GOTR. Sometimes it is about her feet, or her confidence in herself. She describes the feeling of being excited about going running, but then she suddenly feels like cold water has been thrown in her face and she doubts her resolve.
I though that an apt metaphor. Haven't we all felt like that?