Staging Marvelous In HFCC's 'As You Like It'
Shakespeare is still Shakespeare, no matter how it is presented. At Henry Ford Community College last weekend, the Performing Arts Department presented a modified "As You Like It," set in the 1960's, but with the original dialogue. The purpose of changing the setting was to show the timelessness of Shakespeare's works. This much was accomplished. However, the length of the show (almost three hours) combined with the Shakespearean dialogue and antique writing style made the production almost too heavy to follow. If it were not for the original staging, much of the audience's attention would have been lost.
One example of the clever technical setup were the entrances and exits of famed wrestler Charles (played by Steven Nicolich) early in the play. Other highlights include the well-thought-out and well-executed fight scene between Charles and Orlando (Daniel Taylor), and the planning and working of the music.
"As You Like It" is a comedy love story which includes elements of youth rebellion and cravings for power, both still applicable today. The acting was generally of high quality. Taylor did a good job as the rebellious Orlando, as did Nanette Hammoud and Heather Ann Capote as the banished cousins, Rosalind and Celia. Randal Kuzdak gave a wonderful portrayal as the fool Touchstone.
This production made Shakespeare's work a little more palatable for those who normally do not care for classical theater, but the strong 16th century flavor in the dialogue still made it heavy fare.