Around the turn of the 17th century William Shakespeare wrote two comedies, each featuring a heroine who finds herself lost in a foreign locale and deciding to disguise herself as a man to avoid detection. And of course that can only lead to adventure, narrow escapes and much confusion, not the least of which is that each heroine finds herself in love with a man who thinks she is a boy!
Despite the fact that there is no known production of As You Like It until the 18th century, it has become one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies, with its famous ‘All the World’s A Stage’ speech and, in Rosalind, the longest female role in all of Shakespeare. As You Like It is funny, touching, daring and dangerous and has been adapted into radio and film, there is a musical adaptation and a Japanese “manga” comic book version.
The theatre program at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College is thrilled to be presenting an all-female version of As You Like It, set late at night in all-girls’ school, just past sunset when the world can be turned upside down and petty jealousies, rivalries and, of course, friendships can be tested through the poetry of Shakespeare. With students from all years of the program, As You Like It features set and lighting designs by visiting designer Renate Pohl, with a costume design by resident stagecraft professor Carol Nelson and is directed by the program chair, Todd Hennessey. Featured in the role of Rosalind is fourth-year acting student Allison Kelly.
Twelfth Night is often said to be Shakespeare’s last “true” comedy. If this is indeed the case, he went out with a bang. It could be argued that Shakespeare went into his bag of tricks and used everything that had worked before from his earlier comedies: a woman disguised as a man; a brilliant comic scene involving an elaborate practical joke; a set of twins mistaken for each other, and a brilliantly conceived clown had all been featured before. In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare combined all of these elements brilliantly, producing a comic masterpiece.
The production features the work of theatre students from all four years and theatre faculty member Patrick Monaghan as Malvolio, the cross-gartered steward. The role of Viola will be played by Meghan Greeley, fourth-year student and star of the Toronto Film Festival hit Crackie. It is directed by award winning visiting director Michael Waller and set in Tuscany circa 1910 with a beautiful operatic soundtrack. Visiting designer Renate Pohl designed the set and lights and the costumes are designed by resident stagecraft professor Carol Nelson.
The theatre program at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College is pleased to present both plays in repertory Nov. 23-28. As You Like It will open first, on Nov. 23, with other performances on Nov. 25 and 27. Twelfth Night will play on Nov. 24 and 26, closing the run on Nov. 28. Tickets are available at the college bookstore, or at the Fine Arts Theatre Box Office on the evening of performance. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.
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