Shakespeare for Everyone

 


1990
Prospect Park Concert Grove, Picnic House & Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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by William Shakespeare
adapted & directed by Charles Stanley

 

Charles Stanley's production of Shakespeare's As You Like It sets the comedy in a New Orleans surrounded by bayous of free love and back-to-nature rapture.  It comes alive with '60s exuberance with the company reciting Shakespeare in southern dialect.  It does provide a welcome relief to star-studded, serious Shakespeare in a theater.  Best of all: It's free.

The opening scene makes it clear that this As You Like It is also freely adapted and creatively cast.  Orlando, played with appealing realism by Jeffrey Ricketts, is lamenting his woes to Adam.  Adam is played by a dog, a thin Scottish deerhound named Piper, who seems to pant on cue.  When later called upon to faint from hunger and be carried by Orlando into the Forest of Arden, Adam seems the perfect caricature of the emaciated "faithful" servant.

In the following scene, the wrestling math (read " 'rasslin") between Orlando and Charles, the court wrestler, is staged with all the melodrama of a World Wrestling Federation bout.  Orlando vanquishes his nemesis with the dreaded "finger-pull" hold, and soon flees for the sanctuary of the Forest of Arden.

Costumed in flowery prints, flag T-shirts and flowing garments, the actors succeed in making the Elizabethan meter and prose seem a natural part of the laid-back lifestyle of rural Louisiana in the late '60s.  Renée Bucciarelli portrays Rosalind with intelligence and femininity, while Mary Boyher, clad and corseted in black leather, makes a hard-edged, asexual Jaques, delivering the Seven Ages of Man speech with quivering emotionality.  Duke Senior is played by Brian Kosnik as one far-out dude who has found Nirvana in the Forest, and Peter McCabe as Touchstone humorously labors to make the customs of the court seem logical in the woods.

The play ends with happy marriages overseen by Hymen, a weird hybrid of Indian mysticism and New Age transcendentalism.  As the stage fills with the ecstatic musical strains of a '60s-style wedding, it's clear that the Kings County Shakespeare Company has been wholly successful in bringing a superior production of Shakespeare to the people of Brooklyn.

Michael Kantor
New York Newsday

 

CAST

Duke Senior

Brian Kosnik*

Duke Frederick

Brian Kosnik*

Orlando

Jeffrey Ricketts*

Oliver

Anthony Kittrell*

Jake

Timothy T. Brown

Dennis

Alex Emanuel

Charles

Wm. Charles Mitchell

Touchstone

Peter McCabe*

Amiens

R. Jason Nunan*

Silvius

David Mazzeo*

Corin

Wm. Charles Mitchell

William

Alex Emanuel

Sir Oliver Martext

Timothy T. Brown

Rosalind

Renée Bucciarelli*

Celia Jane Montgomery*
Jaques Mary Boyer*
Phebe Lisa M. Bostnar*
Sisterwoman LeBeau Timothy T. Brown
Audrey Wm. Charles Mitchell
Adam Piper
*Member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA)

CREW

Company Manager

Deborah Parker

Fight Director

Lucie Chin

Wrestling Coach

Suzie Johnson

Martial Arts Coach

Henry Rivera

Voice/Verse Consultant

Sandy Goodman

Costume Designer

KCSC Staff

Choreographer

Liz Shipmaan

Press Representative Deborah L. Gardner
Program/Ad Sales Joseph Small
Ad Sales Bev Lacy
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