So many elements of William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” have influenced modern comedies: mistaken identity, cross-dressing, light-hearted romance and a calamitous journey.
The play remains a favorite among audiences, and soon, Houstonians can revisit it at the University of Houston’s School of Theatre & Dance. Directed by Sara Becker, the play runs April 19 – 28 at UH’s Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre (Entrance 16 off of Cullen Boulevard). Performance times and dates are as follows:
- 8 p.m., April 19, 20, 25, 26, 27
- 2 p.m., April 21, 28
Tickets are $20, $15 for UH faculty and staff, $12 for seniors and $10 for students. To purchase tickets or for more details, contact the box office at 713-743-2929 or visit the School of Theatre & Dance’s website.
“As You Like It” follows several of Shakespeare’s most cherished characters into the Forest of Arden. The sinister Frederick has seized the territory belonging to his brother the Duke and banished him along with his loyal followers. After a fateful meeting at a wrestling match (and love at first sight) Rosalind, the rightful duke’s daughter, is banished as well. She flees the treacherous court with her faithful cousin Celia and their clownish fool to seek her father in the Forest of Arden. Throw in some disguises and a dose of the pastoral and you have one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, featuring idyllic forests, ladies in breeches and a very special traveler.
Directed by Sara Becker, assistant professor of voice and Shakespeare, the play’s setting is transplanted to 1930s America, with live music composed and performed by sophomore theater student Sarah Ornelas. The production also will showcase costumes that reflect the era.
“I was excited by putting it into a 20th century setting and was inspired by the film “Paper Moon” and Preston Sturges’ movies,” she said.
“As You Like It” features one of Shakespeare’s most popular monologues –“All the world’s a stage.” It also introduced the phrase “too much of a good thing.”
“Audiences love this play,” Becker said. “It’s a story about travelling, and changing one’s self and one’s life. It’s also a story about falling in love and forgiveness. Most importantly, it’s a fun story.”
The UH School of Theatre & Dance produces professional plays, dance concerts, studio productions, a new play festival and school shows through the Theatre for Young Audiences program. The school performs in the Wortham Theatre and the Quintero Theatre. The Houston Shakespeare Festival is a professional project of the school, which is produced each summer at Miller Outdoor Theatre. The UH School of Theatre & Dance offers bachelor’s and master's degrees in theater and teacher certifications in dance and theatre. Its graduate program consists of a Master of Arts in theatre and Master of Fine Arts in theatre with specializations in acting, directing and design. Faculty includes Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee, Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff, Tony Award-winning producer Stuart Ostrow and Tony-nominated designer Kevin Rigdon. Among the greats who have taught at the school in previous years are Lanford Wilson, Sir Peter Hall and Jose Quintero. For details on UH's School of Theatre & Dance, visit www.theatredance.uh.edu.