Bluff Your Way Through the Play: As You Like It

 

As You Like It Bluff

Original Story?…Mmm, kinda.
Shakespeare borrowed from Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynde to create As You Like It. In Lodge’s story, the ladies leave the court and have to face outlaws, rape, and the threat of incest.  Shakespeare altered the plot and renamed some of the characters.

It Takes Two, Baby
The world of the court and the world of the forest have very different vibes. Shakespeare plays with duality in this play in several ways: Two dukes, two brothers, the duality of Rosalind being a woman but disguised as a man, all the various love pairings that emerge in the story.

The Newlywed Game
(Spoiler Alert!) Eight characters get married by the end of As You Like It. Eight! That’s the most in any of Shakespeare’s plays. And nobody dies during the play, but they come close.

All the World’s a Stage
One of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches, the Seven Ages of Man, appears in As You Like It and is spoken by the character of Jacques. It’s interesting that Shakespeare’s other famous speech, To be or not to be, from Hamlet was written during roughly the same time period.

That’s a lot of words
The character of Rosalind has 685 lines in As You Like It. That 25% of the total lines in the play. It’s the largest female role in all of Shakespeare’s plays.

Sing a Song
As You Like It gets the runner up award for the most songs in any Shakespeare play. (The Tempest has more, but they often get cut). Our production has added original songs and updated some of Shakespeare’s for this production.

So…what’s the story?
Oliver is jealous of his popular brother, Orlando, who has challenged Charles the Wrestler to a fight. Oliver urges Charles to kill Orlando during the match.

Rosalind and Celia are the daughters of a pair of sisters, Duke Senior and his usurper, Duke Frederick. The daughters are best friends, and, for Celia’s sake, Frederick has kept Rosalind at court.

Orlando wins the fight, and he and Rosalind fall in love. Frederick banishes Rosalind, and Celia plans to escape with her. Rosalind disguises herself as Celia’s brother, and, along with the Duke’s clown, Touchstone, they head into the forest of Arden, where Duke Senior and his friends are living happily as outlaws. Orlando, warned that he is in danger, also heads to the forest and joins the outlaws.

Rosalind and Orlando meet, but he mistakes her for a boy. She encourages him to woo her as if she were Rosalind so that she can put his true feelings to the test.

Oliver is sent by Frederick to retrieve Orlando. He is attacked by a lion, and Orlando saves him but is badly injured. Oliver brings Orlando help, and they are reconciled. Oliver is introduced to Celia, and they fall in love. Her “brother” promises to produce Rosalind if Duke Senior will let her marry Orlando. He agrees, and Rosalind reveals her true identity. Duke Frederick has a miraculous religious conversion and becomes a hermit.

Adapted from Shakespeare Genealogies by Vanessa James

Character Lowdown
Duke Senior, deposed and living in banishment in the forest of Arden
Rosalind, daughter of Duke Senior, later disguised as a boy
Amiens and Jacques, Lords attending Duchess Senior
Duke Frederick, Duke Senior’s sibling and the usurper
Celia, Duke Frederick’s daughter and Rosalind’s companion, later disguised
Le Beau, a courtier
Charles, a wrestler
Touchstone, a clown in Duke Frederick’s court
Oliver, the eldest son of Sir Rowland de Bois
Orlando, the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys
Adam, an old servant of Sir Rowland de Boys
Dennis, Oliver’s servant
Corin, a shepherd
Silvius, a shepherd
Phoebe, a shepherdess
William, a country boy
Audrey, a goatherd
Sir Oliver Martext, a clergyman
Jaques de Boys, son of Sir Rowland de Bois

You Heard It Here First
Shakespeare has given us words and phrases that we use every day, but before he made them up they didn’t exist. Below are some familiar phrases and words that first hit the English language scene with As You Like It. Listen closely in the play to see if you can catch them all.

In a better world than this
Forever and a day
Laid on with a trowel
Neither rhyme nor reason
Working-day world

to cater
circumstantial
eventful
lackluster
marketable
new-fangled
quarrelsome
rumination

Want to find out more? Check out Coined by Shakespeare by Jeffrey McQuain and Stanley Malless for an in-depth study and fun exploration of Shakespeare’s creative wordplay.

Win Tickets to a Screening of “The Comedy of Errors”

We’ve got five pairs of tickets to give away to the Globe Theatre’s screening of their production of “The Comedy of Errors” on Thursday, June 25 at 7PM at the Guild 45th.  Enter to win today!

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We're thrilled that the Globe Theatre will be bringing their stage production of The Comedy of Errors to the screen at the Guild 45th Theatre on Thursday, June 25 at 7PM. We've got 5 pairs of tickets to give away.

Enter to win today. Contest ends at midnight on June 21, 2015.

The Comedy of Errors

Take one pair of estranged twin brothers both called Antipholus (Matthew Needham and Simon Harrison), and one pair of estranged twin servants both called Dromio (Jamie Wilkes and Brodie Ross), keep them in ignorance of each other and throw them into a city with a reputation for sorcery, and you have all the ingredients for theatrical chaos. One Antipholus is astonished by his foreign hospitality; the other enraged by the hostility of his home town. The Dromios, caught between the two, are soundly beaten for obeying all the wrong orders. Basing his plot on a farce by Plautus, Shakespeare caps the mayhem of his Roman original to build up a hectic tale of violent cross-purposes, furious slapstick and social nightmare. The final Globe On Screen film for 2015, recorded earlier in the year, brings the perfect light relief to close an epic season of war and tragedy. This sell-out production employed authentic Renaissance costumes and staging and will have cinema audiences roaring with laughter.

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Creating Summer Magic

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Rehearsals for Wooden O summer 2015 began this week as the companies for As You Like It and Henry IV part 1 gathered together for a potluck dinner and to hear design presentations. Below is a transcript of Artist Director George Mount’s welcome to the company.

I don’t care what the calendar says…today’s the first day of summer!

Look outside, it’s so hot!  And Wooden O begins today.  For us now and in about a month’s time, we will unleash ourselves on the unsuspecting parks across the Seattle and Puget Sound region.  Bringing, to my mind, and I think I’m not alone in this conception, the best free Shakespeare theatre anyone can experience in this state, and perhaps west of the Rocky Mountains, and maybe this great United States of ours.  And you guys are what make that happen!

This day for me is a day that fraught with emotion, and it means the world to me.  I was having lunch with a friend earlier today and talking about loyalty…and trust and commitment to people who mean something to you. And when you give that trust over to other human beings and they reciprocate that trust, it’s the foundation for growth and expression. And what is generated by that giving of trust and the accepting of trust…that is what Wooden O is about for me.  It’s been over twenty years of me trusting people like Crystal Munkers, like Heather Hawkins, like Craig Wollam, Kelly Kitchens, and Hana Lass and Brenda Joyner, and Victoria McNaughton. From twenty years past to two to three years past.  Giving and receiving trust is what we do as performing artists. We are a collaborative art form. And if we cannot trust each other and share in that trust and create within that trust, then we got nothing.

And I trust and love each and every one of you for being part of that journey. And I thank you for signing up.  I again think we’ll have a great summer. Past performance is no guarantee of future dividends and they say in the stock market advertisements. But I believe in what we do and I believe in each and every one of you.  And you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t believe in what we’re doing.

When you know how the trick is done and you still believe it…that’s magic. That’s what we do for Wooden O.

And what we’re doing is bringing free performing arts to our community. And what does that entail? And what does that mean? What that means is that there are a lot of people out there who don’t go to theatre. You’re going to share your art form with them this summer.  They just don’t go. They can’t afford it. They live too far away. They think it’s too high brow. So we’re going to go and do that.  We’re going to help them bridge that gap. So while we’re bridging that gap from a dead playwright from 400 years ago, we’re also going to bridge that gap for people in Tacoma, and Shoreline, and SeaTac, and Lynnwood. And they’re going to get to experience. They’re going to bridge that gap. That’s the continuum that we live in. That’s who we are.  It also means, for the people who will be performing those shows that you will have to show up a little extra early, in a van, and unload a set, set up some costumes and tents. And be asked to make your preshow warm the exercise of setting up speakers. And doing your fight call in front of people who are already audience members. It means changing costumes in a tent that everyone can see. They’re not going to see you changing costumes, but they can see that tent where you’re changing.

It also means that if you need to get around to behind the house to do an audience entrance that they’re going to see you doing that. But there’s theatre magic. And it doesn’t have to have a theatre to make theatre magic. And what Wooden O has capitalized on in the 22+ years that we’ve been doing it, is that whatever happens outside of that sacred space that we define, whether it’s already defined in the Luther Burbank Amphitheater monoliths, or your stage management team taping it out with architecture tape and spikes; you define that space and that’s magic space. And the moment you cross that threshold, the audience will buy whatever you’re selling them…because you believe in it. And that’s real theatrical magic. When you know how the trick is done and you still believe it…that’s magic. That’s what we do for Wooden O.

So you’re going to have some scrappy times and you’re going to have some joyful times. And that’s part of the magic.

Win Tickets to a Screening of “Antony and Cleopatra”

We’ve got five pairs of tickets to give away to the Globe Theatre’s screening of their production of “Antony and Cleopatra” on Thursday, June 4 at 7PM at the Guild 45th.  Enter to win today!

TrophyWin Tickets to Antony and Cleopatra
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We're thrilled that the Globe Theatre will be bringing their stage production of Antony and Cleopatra to the screen at the Guild 45th Theatre on Thursday, June 4 at 7PM. We've got 5 pairs of tickets to give away.

Enter to win today. Contest ends at midnight on May 31, 2015.

Antony and Cleopatra

Cleopatra (Eve Best), the alluring and fascinatingly ambiguous Queen of Egypt, has bewitched the great Mark Antony (Clive Wood), soldier, campaigner and now one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire. When Antony quarrels with his fellow leaders and throws in his lot with Cleopatra, his infatuation threatens to split the Empire in two. The third of our Roman Tragedies, Antony and Cleopatra picks up Antony’s story many years after Julius Caesar. Virtue and vice, transcendent love and realpolitik combine in Shakespeare’s greatest exploration of the conflicting claims of sex and power, all expressed in a tragic poetry of breathtaking beauty and magnificence.  The Globe’s envisioning of this iconic play, recorded earlier in 2015, encapsulates these themes whilst deftly threading a sense of comedy throughout.

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