The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Department of Theatre, Arts and Dance recently presented Shakespeare’s comedy ‘As You Like it‘ in Haislip Theatre. The play was witty, enjoyable and very entertaining.
The play follows the young heroine Rosalind, (Selena Mykenzie Gordon), as she seeks safety in the forest of Arden following banishment by her Uncle, Duke Frederick, (Darryl Turner).
The play begins with a young gentleman, Orlando, (Tre’ Whitley), leaving his home after being mistreated by his brother Oliver (Thomas Jackson), who refuses to give Orlando the money and education promised to him by their late father. Charles (Zach Blair). A wrestler sent by Duke Frederick informs Oliver that he will face Orlando in a match the next day.
After Orlando defeats the court wrestler, he sees Rosalind for the first time. It is love at first sight. They meet again in the forest of Arden after Rosalind is banished, like her father, by Duke Frederick. Orlando leaves home after hearing of his brother’s plans to end his life and seeks safety in the forest.
Duke Senior, Rosalind’s father, (Katie Greer), is living happily in the forest with a band of exiles. Orlando, desperate for food for himself and his companion Adam (Keith Harper), barges into their camp and demands food. They welcome him with open arms. At the same time, Rosalind, disguised as a young man named Ganymede, and her cousin Celia (Jessi Ley), disguised as a poor woman, make their way through the forest. They meet a young man named Silvius (Darryl Turner), who is hopelessly in love with a woman named Phoebe (Anna Newman). Ganymede and Orlando encounter each other in the forest, and Ganymede promises to cure him of his “love-sickness,” as he does not recognize her as Rosalind.
As the play proceeds, Phoebe is harsher in her rejection of Silvius. Ganymede intervenes, and Phoebe falls in love with him. Over time, Rosalind grows tired of pretending to be a man and decides to end her disguise. Orlando grows tired of pretending that Ganymede is Rosalind, and Rosalind organizes a wedding for the next day and promises that everything will be resolved. She vows that Ganymede will marry Phoebe if Ganymede would ever marry a woman.
The play concludes with Rosalind reminding the group of their vows and then returning dressed as herself. She is married to Orlando, Celia marries Oliver, who she met while in the forest, and Phoebe marries Silvius. Rosalind is also reunited with her father, who is restored to his throne after Duke Frederick is convicted of his wrong-doings by a holy man.
Highlights of the play included appearances by the melancholy traveler Jacques, (Zach Blair), gorgeous dancing by the goddess, portrayed by Emily Shellabarger, a group dance number at the wedding and fun songs from Duke Frederick’s band of exiles.
‘As You Like It’ was directed by Chad Bradford and assistant director Geneva Galloway. They did an excellent job with the play, and those that attended had high praise for the experience.
The Department of Theater, Arts, and Dance will present “Dance Harvest 2018” on Nov 8, 9, 10 and 11 at University Theater.