It’s 2016; Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ Meets the ‘80s

August 26, 2016

 

by Len Lathrop

Summer Shakespeare productions happen every year at the Hills Garrison School.  This year the play was on the stage, and the students took Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” and melded it with music and events from the 1980s.

Lauren Denis, the director of the program, explained how this performance reached the audience:  “We decided to perform “As You Like It,” a comedy about gender growing up, and most importantly, love.  The comedy in this show is hip, romantic and extremely energetic.  What other time period, other than the 1980s, would be able to highlight this piece?  With bright neon colors, loud music, and of course, big hair, we are going to tell you the story of these young lovers on their journey to find each other and along the way, find their true selves.”

If you did miss this one, maybe the Alvirne Studio 19 recorded it for you; it had almost everything you can think of, well beyond the big hair and the catchy tunes of the ‘80s.  Watching young thespians perform songs and have lines that marked the era before they were even born was entertaining, still they never took you so far away from the theme of “As You Like It” that you forgot the Shakespeare libretto.

As You Like It’s Orlando, played by Tyler Gagnon, fights with his older brother, Oliver, portrayed by Bradley Garcia, over their father’s inheritance.  After Oliver tries to have professional wrestler Charles, Joe Lavoie in the real world, kill Orlando, Orlando turns the tables and defeats his sibling but has to leave the kingdom.  With more family issues Duke Frederick, played by Madalyn Persons-Cutting, sees her daughter Celia (Isabel Beakey) about to be banished, she disguises herself as a man as she leaves her cousin Rosalind who becomes Ganymede, played by Cassie Shelley.

Their travels and the people they met and fell in love with showcased all 15 student actors and their talents.  Even the famous 1980s whipped cream zit skit was there (Remember John Belushi in Animal House?).

Director Denis called the production a team effort and thanked everyone involved for making it “absolutely fabulous…like, totally fabulous!”  Other actors were Hayli Ruiter as Adam; Alyson Zaker as Le Beau; Casey Wiliamson a Touchstone; Georgie Gentile as Audrey; Curtis Klemme as Jacques; Dena Hoffman as Lord Martext; Corinne Prestia as Phebe; Jessica Taylor as Jaques de Boys; and Dahlia Thibeault as Dennis.  Some of the actors even did double duty as crew members.  Crew members were as follows:  Jennifer LaFrance as tech director; Corinne Prestia  as choreographer; Marianne Hedges with costume design; Madalyn Persons-Cutting as costume assistant; Jessica Taylor and Cassie Shelley with scenic design; Jeremy Bistany, Arthur Sheppard, Jennifer LaFrance and Cassie Shelley with set design and operation; David LaFrance, Jeremy Bistany Arthur Sheppard and Kendyl Trott with set construction; Cassie Shelley with poster design; and Georgie Gentile with program design.