“AS YOU LIKE IT” A MERRY ROMP THROUGH THE FOREST
By Bonnie Goldberg
Combine fireflies, a summer breeze, a grassy knoll, a starry sky and a touch of fairy dust and you’ll have the perfect setting for Shakespeare on the Sound in Rowayton's delightful production of “As You Like It,” a play about love set in the Forest of Arden. With the lovely outdoor location of the Pinkney Park as its stage, the production transports the audience into a magical place until Sunday, June 30, on an intricate parquet floor staged by Brian Prather.
Artistic director Claire Shannon Kelly has also performed a little legerdemain of her own by relocating the characters into the modern day with references to cell phones and e-mails so flower children dressed in a festival of white roam in the merry woods. Two sweet and pretty cousins Rosalind (Katie Wieland) and Celia (Medina Senghore) have been unjustly banished to the forest by Celia’s father Duke Frederick (Andy Baldeschwiler) and go to seek Rosalind’s father Duke Senior (Andy Baldeschwiler) who has also felt Frederick’s wrath and lost his estates. The innocent girls are accompanied by Touchstone (David Gautschy), the court jester, who is determined to protect them as well as entertain them.
Once in the Forest of Arden, Rosalind disguises herself as a lad Ganymede. In that guise, she rediscovers Orlando (Chris Ghaffari), a youth who fell in love with her while in Frederick’s court. Not recognizing her, Orlando uses Ganymede to practice on with his poems of love for Rosalind. Meanwhile Touchstone gets giddy with the shepherd girl Audrey (Paula Galloway), the maiden Phoebe (Iris McQuillan-Grace) is actively pursued by Silvius (Matthew Dalton Lynch) and even Celia finds romance in the unlikely arms of Oliver (Daniel Levitt), Orlando’s not-so-nice brother.
An added bonus to the production is the music and dance that is injected in traditional troubadour style.
Performances are free, although donations are invited. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday - Sunday, weather permitting. Picnics are encouraged and blankets and beach chairs can be brought. The Pickney Park is off exit 11 of I-95. For information, email www.shakespeareonthesound.org.
Discover the madness of love in all its varied complexions as traitors and teasers and poets and fools roam the pastoral pleasure filled Forest of Arden.