KU theater to stage Shakespeare's 'As You Like It'

William Shakespeare's "As You Like It" is thought to have been written in 1599 as a momentary diversion for the then-35-year-old Bard.

Nostalgic for the rustic solitude of his childhood, he dashed off the play, which was derived from an earlier work, "Rosalynde," written by Thomas Lodge around 1590.

Past Event

As You Like It

  • Friday, October 10, 2003, 7:30 p.m.
  • Crafton-Preyer Theater, Murphy Hall, 1530 Naismith Dr., Lawrence
  • All ages

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Kansas University's theater and film department is resurrecting the romantic comedy to open University Theatre's 2003-2004 mainstage season.

The play follows two young lovers: Orlando, a love-struck youth who roams the forest hanging poetry and carving his beloved's name in tree trunks, and Rosalind, who, disguised as a man, mischievously gives Orlando tips on how to capture the object of his affections. Orlando and Rosalind's love creates such a romantic atmosphere that practically all the young people around them fall in love and end up marrying.

Guest director D. Scott Glasser is setting the KU production in 1961 in a dukedom on the French/Italian Riviera and the forest of Arden.

"I was looking for a time and place where gender roles were being questioned anew, familiar as modern times, but with identifiable rules of behavior, style and class distinctions," Glasser said. "I was drawn to the years 1957 to 1963 on the French/Italian Riviera. It was a time far enough from World War II that a cultural excitement had returned to Europe. Hollywood met Monaco in the story of Princess Grace. American jazz fused with European melody. A new wave of film directors, such as Truffault, Godard, Resnais, Fellini, Antonioni, Visconti, De Sica dominated the scene. And the continental fashion industry took power once more with Givenchy, Dior, Balenciaga and Pucci. Sexuality was being more explicitly explored anticipating the 'sexual revolution' of the next decade."

He said "As You Like It" was not a play of special effects, theatrical devices or gimmicks.

"It lives in the emotionally potent interplay among vivid characters who begin with one understanding of their place in the world and end with another," Glasser said. "Shakespeare has hung this on a landscape of artifice, where roles are played, and a 'play' is improvised among the characters. It is a fantasy-land."

He said the play was also about personal power and social responsibility told through a tangled web of disguise and romance.

Scenic and lighting design is by Dennis Christilles, KU associate professor of theatre and film. Costumes were designed by guest artist Brian Hemesath, and the songs for the production were composed by Paul Boesing. Lawrence cast members include Summer Eglinski, junior; Evan C. Grosshans, senior; and Scott Johnson, senior.

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