A tongue-in-cheek guest blog entry written by Adam Haaga (dancing the part of Silas!)
BFan convincingly imbibes their adaptation of Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy As You Like It with exciting Wild Western motifs, maintaining the play’s original humor and levity without yielding the refined elegance of their classical roots.
Truly speaking cordially of love’s affable nature, this performance alights to the idea that love is a source of incomparable delectation and a force for happiness. It opens with a series of corruptions, iniquities and grievances: Duke Senior is ousted from office as sheriff, his younger brother Frederick appropriates legal power, assumes the aforementioned title, and exiles both Rosie (on account of his jealousy regarding the acclaim townspeople give her for her courage), and Lando, for a crime he did not commit. Rosie is accompanied by her close cousin CeCe and their campy assistant La Belle.
The tempo and mood translate quickly as soon as the banished characters begin their sojourn on the Range of Ardenne (Act II), a dominion where potent change occurs and a sense of balance is restored in all.
The scene out west illuminates with convivial magic and affection. Lando’s virtue and merit has won the heart of Rosie, though she, in her guise as the young cowboy Ganymede, must first counsel Lando. His clumsy and effusive poetry are only slightly irritating, and she wishes to show him how to be a more attentive and caring lover. Rosie proves a quick wit and her acute sensitivity in the ways of love commands the attention of all as she orchestrates, with the help of chimerical Cupid, the matrimony of four couples. Cupid’s omnipotent role infuses the story with light-hearted humor and amusement.
Meanwhile, Phebe’s degraded status as a wench does not seem to abate Silas’ devotion to her. The milkmaid does not reciprocate the cowhand’s admiration, but even stinging harlots have their tender streaks, as Rosie’s handiwork sets in motion an outrageous string of promises that unravel a complex love triangle. Touchstone, the bard-narrator who accompanies Rosie, CeCe and La Belle along their journey, emerges in a new capacity for this adaptive performance, acting as ritornelle, the troubadour narrating the story with lyric charm and appeal. Admittedly, this is a slight artistic liberty taken, but one the audience is sure to enjoy.
As You Like It celebrates a love crisp as turbulence, one that rattles your nerves to vibrate with the ardent stirring of fireflies tangled in the warp and weft of Hope’s sinew, ensuring us that there is nothing the magnitude of dreaming dynamism cannot accomplish, and that romantic success and change for the better are always gravid possibilities.
Meet the Characters (with slightly westernized names from Shakespeare’s original):
- Duke – exiled leader who has the countenance to accept his lamentable position with grace and poise
- Sheriff Frederick – delinquent younger brother to Duke whose nefarious motives bring corruption into the social order
- Rosie – the sharp-witted daughter of exiled Duke who is the object of Lando’s adulation (Danced by: Hannah Bontrager)
- CeCe – daughter of Sheriff Frederick, cousin and best friend of Rosie (Danced by: Amanda Coleman)
- Ollie – Lando’s older brother who raised his sibling like a peasant, unschooled; Ollie’s allegiance sits with Sheriff Frederick (Danced by: Justin Feimster)
- Big Bad Charlie – name says it all…not a man you would cross; thug bandit and Ollie’s co-conspirator, challenges Lando to a duel (Played by: Gianluca Paparo)
- Lando – despite his inadequate upbringing, he is a nobleman of spirit and ethic and loyal to the exiled Duke; given to cloying sentimentality and deeply in love with Rosie (Danced by: Alberto Liberatoscioli, guest dancer from Nebraska Ballet)
- La Belle – sweet, goofy barmaid and friend to Celia and Rosie (Danced by: Amelia Unsicker)
- Audrey – a cute little country jezebel, friend of Phebe (Danced by: Jordyn Richter)
- Phebe – milkmaid wench who spurns the ardent advances of the persistent cowherd Silas (Danced by: Krislyn Wessel)
- Touchstone – acts as both choral narrative and the accompanying fool to Rosie, CeCe and La Belle (Played by: Adam Goldthwaite, Portland-based guest actor)
- Silas – a tenacious admirer of Phebe; the cowherd whose complaisant gestures are met with her disapproval (Danced by: Adam Haaga)
- Cupid – seraphic architect of romantic entrapment (Danced by: Leanne Mizzoni)
Our ballet will be fun, rollicking, playful, tongue-in-cheek, and toe-tapping. Don’t just join us—bring your friends! Groups of six or more receive a whopping $5 off EACH ticket!
Much gratitude to UO Shakespeare scholars Rachel Hanan and Lynn Freitas for their great service in assisting BFan with our wild west ballet adaptation. Our As You Like It is the first-ever ballet version that we are aware of of the work and is a DON’T MISS!
Tickets are going fast, with significant discounts for youth, seniors, students, young professionals, and groups of six or more!
Link to tickets so you can get ’em now: http://www.hultcenter.org/event/as-you-like-it-2010/
Thanks for your love and support,