Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Shakespeare, he's in the alley

Am looking forward to seeing As You Like It tonight at the Troy Music Hall.

Here's a picture of the bus parked on State Street in front of the side of the Hall.  Who knew they just showed up in a bus?  I mean, I suppose it makes sense.  In the alley behind there's also a big semi.  Full, no doubt, with trees to simulate the Forest of Arden.  Driven, likely, by fools.

Which beings us, inexorably, to this ...
Well, Shakespeare, he's in the alley
With his pointed shoes and his bells,
Speaking to some French girl,
Who says she knows me well.
And I would send a message
To find out if she's talked,
But the post office has been stolen
And the mailbox is locked.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

Me?  I'm all fired up.  This from the Music Hall's website ...

Founded in 1972 by legendary producer/director/actor John Houseman, The Acting Company has included some of today's finest, and funniest, stage actors - among them Kevin Kline, Rainn Wilson, and Patti LuPone.  Join us at The Hall to see today's rising stars perform Shakespeare's "As You Like It"!

Wow.  Who doesn't like Kevin Kline?

This from the New York Times ...

‘As You Like It,’ at the New Victory Theater
First, let’s change the title to “B.F.F.’s in the Forest of Arden.”
Celia, a mere supporting character in “As You Like It” — now at the New Victory Theater in a sweet and sophisticated new staging for all ages — is so devoted to her cousin Rosalind that when Rosalind is banished from wherever they all live in ducal France, Celia insists on going with her. Into the woods. And this being Shakespeare, they go in disguise: Rosalind (Elizabeth Stahlmann) as a man, and Celia (Megan Bartle) as a shepherdess who looks like Megan Hilty.
This Acting Company production, done in association with the Guthrie Theater and expertly directed by Dan Rothenberg, has just enough silliness to keep younger theatergoers entertained. Set in the early 20th century, it has physical comedy (good job by Ms. Bartle, especially); action (one character bursts in and holds a knife to another’s throat); sports (wrestling); music (wandering minstrel with guitar); goofiness (a fine Christopher Michael McFarland as the court jester); adolescent anxiety (a smitten boy and girl too awkward to converse); and, of course, gender issues (the illusion of same-sex flirtation through cross-dressing). And some actors wear big animal heads (wild about the boar). Shakespearean comedies can get a little PG-13: this show is officially recommended for theatergoers 12 and older. But “As You Like It” remains excellent introductory Shakespeare. There is only one major set of lovers, Rosalind and Orlando (Joseph Midyett), to keep track of. The play does end with a quadruple wedding, but most of the brides and grooms are minor characters. Everybody who was mean in the beginning turns kind.
And the script includes the “All the world’s a stage” speech, delivered nicely by Chris Thorn as an emo Jaques, boisterously acting out the seven ages of man. Yaegel T. Welch is also a standout, although much more so as Charles, the wrestler with attitude, than as the mild-mannered exiled duke.
Matt Saunders’s set is a winner. Very understated in Act I, with glamorous old Victrolas, minimal palace furniture and just a hint of the forest, it explodes in Act II with savage ferns, trees with scary branches and a fierce red sun. Rousseau, anyone?
Hmmm.  I think I liked it better before I read the review.  But maybe that's just me.


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