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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: April ::
Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0738  Thursday, 17 April 2003

[1]     From:   M. Yawney <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Apr 2003 06:05:36 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0729 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT

[2]     From:   David Linton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Apr 2003 10:45:59 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.0729 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT

[3]     From:   Tom Dale Keever <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Apr 2003 10:44:40 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0729 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           M. Yawney <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Apr 2003 06:05:36 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.0729 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0729 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT

One strategy is to have the actors switch between roles within a scene.
This was a much commented on and praised feature of the final scene of
the recent 5 actor Measure.

(Or look at the new She Stoops to Comedy by David Greenspan which is
about actors in a production of As You Like It and has a scene between
two characters both played by E. Catherine Kerr!)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Linton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Apr 2003 10:45:59 -0400
Subject: 14.0729 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.0729 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT

I saw the Public Theater's production of ASLI last week and it was one
of the most inventive and entertaining productions I've seen.  As far as
I could tell, very little was cut.  The most inventive detail was to
have some of the double casting be done in such a way that the several
characters being played by one actor were sometimes on stage at the same
time requiring the actor to bounce back and forth between parts marked
only by slight costume changes, such as the use of a hat or no hat, and
changes in voice, demeanor, posture, etc.  The highlight of this was a
wrestling match between the two sons of the Duke, Orlando and Jaques,
both played by the same actor who did a remarkable job of throwing
himselves around and inhabiting both roles.

I'd urge anyone who can get there to rush down to see it.  What a debt
of gratitude we owe Joe Papp for having pioneered Shakespeare production
in New York City.

David Linton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Dale Keever <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Apr 2003 10:44:40 -0400
Subject: 14.0729 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0729 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT

>I have experimented with small-cast versions (strictly in the planning
>stages) and remain puzzled about how you can possibly manage with
>so few as 4 or even 6 for the listed plays. Does this involve serious
>cutting of the works to eliminate characters? How, for example, can you
>stage the conclusion of AYLI without rewriting the play?
>
>Not complaining here. Just baffled.
>
>Cheers,
>don

The Edinburgh Fringe almost always includes a few small-cast
Shakespeares.  In '91 I saw three-person adaptations of "As You Like It"
by a group called "The Custard Factory," whose similarly abbreviated
"Measure for Measure" I missed, and a three-person "Richard III" by a
Cambridge troupe.  Each was quite effective in its own way.  The former
was actually a very radically trimmed down version that transformed the
text into the story of a Rosalind being tempted away from a lesbian
relationship with Celia by a very sinister Orlando.  The "Richard III"
actually told Shakespeare's story very effectively with few cuts to the
script.

The key is to make very strong physical choices to differentiate the
doubled characters.  In the Public's ASYLI the doubling players shift
adroitly from one role to another and back in the final scene with
hilarious skill, taking on and putting off defining bits of clothing and
physical mannerisms with split second timing.  Orlando and his brother
are played by the same actor.  When he is the latter he wears a derby
which is sometimes held in midair by another player to personate the
character when Orlando is speaking.  The "two" even stage a "wrestling
match" in the first Act.  The actor is a trained acrobat who can do a
standing back flip on a moment's notice.

Similar tactics were employed very effectively in a small cast "Comedy
of Errors" on Theatre Row a few months ago to which I took some of my
students.  The "twins" were doubled and I wondered all through the play
how on earth they were going to manage the final scene.  It wasn't quite
as successful as ASYLI, but still quite funny and lively.

The ASYLI does very light cutting and runs almost two hours without
intermission.  The time flies by.

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