Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: September ::
Re: *As You Like It*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0689.  Sunday, 17 September 1995
 
(1)     From:   Sarah Cave <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 15 Sep 1995 09:50:26 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0697  Q: *As You Like It"
 
(2)     From:   Shannon Murray <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 15 Sep 1995 11:00:48 -0400 (AST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0697  Q: *As You Like It"
 
(3)     From:   Michael Conner <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 15 Sep 1995 07:33:43 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0697 Q: *As You Like It"
 
(4)     From:   David Jackson <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 15 Sep 95 10:55:42 est
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0697  Q: *As You Like It"
 
(5)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 15 Sep 1995 17:48:51 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:    Re: SHK 6.0697  Q: *As You Like It"
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sarah Cave <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 15 Sep 1995 09:50:26 EST
Subject: 6.0697  Q: *As You Like It"
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0697  Q: *As You Like It"
 
In 1986, the University of Richmond staged a production of AYLI where the court
and its inhabitants were set in corporate America--rather like an IBM
conference room with the Duke in his navy blue power suit, etc.
 
In contrast, the Forest of Arden was set "backstage" in a theatre, and
Rosalind/Ganymede dressed in "techie" overalls and a painters cap. Corin
painted stand-up sheep, Orlando was building the tree upon which he wrote her
name, and then in the final scene the set pieces were turned around to create a
colorful, magical, theatrical world. Rosalind appeared in a wedding dress,
revealing a beautiful figure that had been lost under the overalls. Her
transformation and the Forest's were very powerful.
 
I did feel, though, that the relationships in the play suffered. Celia and
Rosalind were co-workers, not loving cousins; and the Jaques/ Touchstone
"dueling clown" relationship was almost overlooked.
 
The Corporate America as Evil worked in some ways, but for the most part I
believe that Shakespeare should not be "conceptualized." The most powerful,
emotional productions in my experience have been simply costumed, barely
constructed, and heavily textual.
 
Isn't it all about words?
 
Sarah Cave
Agnes Scott College

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Shannon Murray <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 15 Sep 1995 11:00:48 -0400 (AST)
Subject: 6.0697  Q: *As You Like It"
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0697  Q: *As You Like It"
 
Jim Helfers asked about video versions of *As You Like It*.  The two I use are
the BBC's from 1978 (with Helen Mirren, Angharad Rees, and Richard Pasco) and
Paul Czinner's from 1936 with Olivier and Elizabeth Bergner.  Those our media
centre bought easily, but only the second is in our local video stores.
 
I have a useful book--*Walking Shadows: Shakespeare in the National Film and
Television Archives* which also lists films with sections from or about *As You
Like It*: *Caught in the Act* which follows a Branagh production from 1988 and
*The Immortal Gentleman* which offers Shakespeare himself reading the "seven
ages of man" speech, for example. These, though, are probably less useful and
less easily found.
 
                Shannon Murray
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Conner <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 15 Sep 1995 07:33:43 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 6.0697 Q: *As You Like It"
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0697 Q: *As You Like It"
 
The 1936 Olivier/Bergner version is readily available.  I found it rather
tedious though.  I would assume there is a BBC version from the 1980s also
available though I haven't seen it.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Jackson <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 15 Sep 95 10:55:42 est
Subject: 6.0697  Q: *As You Like It"
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0697  Q: *As You Like It"
 
There is a film version of AYLI with L. Olivier as Orlando and Elizabeth
bergner as Rosalind (with John Laurie as Oliver and Felix Aylmer as Duke
Frederick). Made in 1936, directed by Paul Czinner, written (along with WS) by
J.M. Barrie (of Peter Pan fame) and Robert Cullen (who also wrote the novel on
which the 1995 HBO movie "Citizen X", starring Stephen Rea, was based). Music
by William Walton. I haven't seen it in years, but for its time, it's not too
bad, though I wouldn't let any of your cast see it, lest it give them bad
habits (there's nothing worse than listening to actors who think they're being
"Shakespearean" by putting on a phony British accent and walking around like
they have a stick up them; not that L.O. was like this, but it's alarming how
many people do this in a misguided attempt at imitation). Also, there's a
really bad BBC version with the delectable Angharad Rees and Helen Mirren (i
think), someone whose name I can't remember who was excruciating as Orlando (he
could only have gotten the part via the method traditionally reserved for
budding starlets in the days of the silver screen), and the usually great (but
alas, I think, late) James Bolam as Touchstone (JB was had a talent for dour
comic style, but while Touchstone is a complainer, he is completely unfunny and
incomprehensible unless you bring out his opportunism and sly wit along with
his gobbledegook loquaciousness.) As with most BBC productions of Shakespeare,
watch it only if you need a cure for insomnia.
 
As for program notes (which I usually prefer to eschew -- let the play speak
for itself), I would focus on the pastoral element, and the arcadian myth
(escaping the bad city/court and seeking out the purity and enlightenment of
the country (which, of course, the exiles seem happy to abandon as soon as the
Evil Duke has changed his ways).
 
I directed a production of AYLI several years ago, and I, too, depicted the
court as somewhat totalitarian and cold (and decaying), with the Bad Duke and
Oliver in dark power suits, with attendants in military dress uniforms (ok, I
know it's a little crass, but my costume choices were limited, as I'll
explain), while the forest was stark (it's winter, remember) and the exiles
were in LL Bean style clothes and the rustics in more workaday stuff. This was
a shoestring production, and while I desigend the set and wrote the music
myself, I entrusted the costumes to someone whoi didn't deliver; so, five days
before opening, I looked at everyone on the stage, and noticed that several of
the exiles were in khaki pants and ragg sweaters, and the LL Bean look just
worked. Plus we were able to draw upon most people's wardrobes, so we just went
with it. Some people thought we went a bit far by having Jaques de Boys show up
in Indiana Jones garb, but his entrance is so absurd anyway, that I wanted the
image of some intrepid explorer wannabee hacking his way throught the forest in
search of the lost civilization, just so he could deliver the news about the
Duke's miraculous transformation (if ever there was a tacky, but nevertheless
endearingly naive, way to quickly get out of a play, this it it). As for Hymen
(yes, we thought of the same bizarre costume/staging permutations as everyone
else does), you just have to commit to the pastoral/pagan country fertility
ritual idea and run with it. I found that music helped a lot here, especially
with the stylized structure of the scene after Rosalind enters, and I scored it
to fit the (interestingly varied) meter of the text, to highlight the
ceremonial nature of it, but also to keep it moving.
 
Good luck; for all its oddness of balance and slightness of plot, it's a
wonderful play that can work beautifully if you treat it with simplicity and
honesty.
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 15 Sep 1995 17:48:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0697  Q: *As You Like It"
Comment:         Re: SHK 6.0697  Q: *As You Like It"
 
Dear Jim Helfers--
One thing that i saw in a recent production (student production here in Albany)
of AYLI that impressed me was signs of a kind of rivalry between Rosalind and
Celia--This was played throughout, and also the implication that one of the
reasons rosalind faints is not just that Orlando  is hurt but also that the
tables have turned on her and now that Celia and oliver are falling she
realizes she may have gone too far with her game--she's no longer the center of
attention to her "faithful sidekick"---chris s.
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.