The Open Door Theatre at New England College will present William Shakespeare’s As You Like It Friday July 16 through Sunday July 18 in the Mainstage Theatre. The Open Door Theatre is comprised of current students, alumni and associates of the New England College Department of Theatre. This summer’s production of As You Like It is adapted by Don Melander, directed by Glenn Stuart and features an ensemble comprised of Alex Picard, Michael Tucker, Greg Stuart, Jennie Leonard, Russ Rattray, Nancy Brennan, Kevin Guimond, Elise Hinton, Ian Allan and Rachel Buck.
The Open Door Theatre’ production of As You Like It, although faithful to Shakespeare’s text does depart from it’s original 16th century courtly setting. Instead the story begins in the mid 1930’s and we are at the Greenwood Development Corp. Duke, the former CEO has been ousted by his brother Frederick and has taken refuge in the Forest of Arden where, along with his loyal followers, he has organized the Forest of Arden Liberation Front. Rosalind, his daughter, is kept uneasily at the Corp. as a companion to her cousin Celia, Frederick’s daughter.
Orlando De Boys, who has been kept working at the lowest level of the Corp. by his brother Oliver ever since their father's death, decides to wrestle for his fortune against Frederick’s champion Gorgeous Hulk. At the match, Rosalind and Orlando see each other for the first time and immediately fall in love. But they are unable to act upon those
feelings, for no sooner do they meet than they are both forced to run for their lives.
Frederick banishes Rosalind fearing she will interfere with his control of the Corp. At the same time, hearing of a plot by his brother to kill him, Orlando also flees with his servant Adam. Celia, refusing to be parted from her cousin, goes with Rosalind and the fool Touchstone to seek Duke in the Forest of Arden. For safety they disguise themselves - Rosalind as the boy Ganymede and Celia as his sister Aliena.
Once in the forest Rosalind encounters a pathetic and thoroughly lovesick Orlando busily pinning dreadful love poems on every tree in Arden. Taking advantage of her manly disguise she schools her beloved about the nature of love. Elsewhere in the forest love also blooms: the shepherd Silvius suffers unrequited love for Phoebe, who has fallen in love with Ganymede, while Touchstone is pursuing the goatherd Audrey.
As You Like It features banishment, gender bending, mistaken identity, charming fools, daughters reunited with fathers, evil brothers finding redemption and a romantic plot so hopelessly tangled that only a woman possessing the grace and wit of Rosalind can possibly hope to resolve it. But resolve she finally does and in spectacular fashion.
Presented in the style of the great Hollywood screwball comedies of the 1930’s and flavored with the music of Cole Porter and Noel Coward, The Open Door Theatre’s production of As You Like It promises to be an evening of high romance, merriment and wit. Join us for this classic Shakespearean comedy that reflects so wonderfully on how utterly bewildering and utterly delightful life can truly be.
Performances are Friday September 17 and Saturday September 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday September 19th at 3:00p.m.at the Mainstage Theatre in the Science Building on Depot Hill Road on the campus of New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire. The air-conditioned Mainstage is an intimate semi-thrust theatre that seats 85 – truly not a bad seat in the house.
Tickets are 12.00 for the general public and 10.00 for students, New England College community members and seniors and can be reserved by calling 603-428-2382 or by email – firstname.lastname@example.org.