Think about these questions: Are gender roles fluid? Is lust synonymous with attraction? When is usurpation “just” or “unjust?” In how many forms does love manifest itself? While these questions may be old news to you—we are at a liberal arts school, after all—they were cutting edge ideas in the 1600s, when Shakespeare wrote his comedy “As You Like It.” While it is common to hear students lament and perhaps complain about how “ancient” Shakespeare is, all of the ideas within his plays still ring very true today. One of the famous bard’s many comedies, “As You Like It” in particular challenges the idea of structured gender roles and gives the audience the chance to interpret gender roles “as they like it” and possibly to realize the fluidity of gender and love. Whether they accept gender and love in all of its forms is up to them. However, if you read the play, as you might just find that Shakespeare has a point.
On Nov. 10 and 11, a group of students presented “As You Like It” as a combined senior project between seniors Clare Conard, Sophie Hernando-Kofman, Abi Leveille and Daniel Vinitsky. Directed by junior Portia Turner and stage-managed by sophomore Kayleigh Kitzman, this particular 70-minute adaptation of the classic play was set in 1930s Milwaukee and Door County and included a wide range of students on its cast list. Leveille starred as the cross-dressing heroine Rosalind. Hernando-Kofman played her cousin and dearest friend Celia, fifth-year Vinitsky was the attractive young Orlando and Conard played the young shepherdess Phebe.
The play follows all of these characters through their adventures in the Forest of Arden and the various lengths to which they go in order to catch the attention of their love interests. From Phebe’s obvious and purposeful attempts at looking sexy for Ganymede—who is actually Rosalind—to the awe-inducing attempts from Silvius, played by senior Angelo Murphycotto, at making Phebe realize his love for her, the play definitely brings out Shakespeare’s humorous side.
Director Turner was extremely pleased with how it all went. “This show was such a joy to work on. Everyone was incredibly excited to be working on Shakespeare and they all made my directing debut an amazing experience. We were completely overwhelmed by the turnout for the show. It was better than we ever could have hoped for,” Turner said.
The big highlights of the performance included senior Sadie Lancrete’s hilarious and tongue-in-cheek antics as the fool Touchstone, Hernando-Kofman’s facial expressions and overall sassy demeanor as Celia and senior Joram Zbichorski’s nonchalance and flair on the guitar during scene changes as Amiens. The production and behind-the-scenes staff also did a fantastic job in directing, managing and designing the play overall. From the costumes to set construction, the entire play was greatly enjoyed by all.