Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Guys And Dolls"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


Reviews of Current Productions


entire contents copyright 1997 by Larry Stark

"As You Like It"

by Wilm Shaxpur
Directed by Deborah Schoenberg

Choreography by Kristan Burke
Original Music by Jesse Soursourian & Greg Baldia
Lighting Design by Yael Lubetzky & Clifford M. Allen
Costume Assistants Gabriela Sarhos & Ann Rushing
Fight Choreography by Companie Scaramouche, Clifford M. Allen
Stage Manager Maureen Healy

Touchstone.................................Eric Balas
Charles/Duke Senior.......................Greg Baldia
Silvius....................................Gio Gaynor
Le Beau...............................Nayibe Gulesian
Amiens...............................Alexandra Hanson
Adam....................................Kerry Hensley
Celia...................................Erica Meltzer
Orlando...................................Alex Miller
Duke Frederick/William/Jaques de Boys....Max Reynolds
Julia/Audrey..........................Kelly Robichaud
Rosalind...............................Elizabeth Ross
Madeline/Phebe..........................Kelli Rushing
Oliver/Duke's Musician..............Jesse Soursourian
Dennis/Corin.............................Annie Webber
Jaques................................Virag Zahajszky


It would be ridiculous to think a crew of high school kids could even speak Shakespeare's lines, let alone understand his plays, right?

Wrong!

Project Shakespeare this year has put "As You Like It" into the hippie 60's, with brief cuts from records accurately underscoring the meat and message of each scene, original music for Shakespeare's songs by singer/guitarist Jesse Soursourian and Greg Baldia, whirligig cartwheel-like choreography by Kristan Burke, and tightly expressive ensemble playing by everyone on stage. Instead of "doing Shakespeare" they have made the play their own, and so it all comes vibrantly alive.

Director Deborah Schoenberg would have you believe the Times Square set from "Guys & Dolls" is the court of cruel Duke Frederick and selfish elder brother Oliver, while the pastoral ashram of kind Duke Senior is Central Park. But if you save her program-notes till you get home you'll realize that it's not the sets but the enthusiastic young actors that are the center of attention here. From young Orlando's first fierce outburst at being kept his brother's laundry-slave to the final resolution uniting four pairs of lovers in matrimony, this young cast is nothing but Shakespeare's people, as Shakespeare is the mere instrument of their enthusiastic eagerness.

Mark you the physical give-and-take between love-smitten Rosalind and her all-but-sister Celia. Mark the heel-clicking caper of smitten shepherd Silvius, the North-Boston patois of the proud wrestler Charles, the brash swagger of jester Touchstone, the giggling incredulous delight of everyone over love-sick Orlando's doggerel false-rhymes, the melancholic stalk of sardonic Jaques.

Truly these are no players, but the things themselves, new-made and living on the stage.

The only thing this crew lacks is the one thing anyone can learn, which is technique. Theater outdoors is very unforgiving to untrained voices, and noisy helicopters would muffle the Royal Shakespeare crew itself. But a lot of trained, experienced actors boast lots of projection and still have nothing of value to project. The Project Shakespeare crew has a few faint voices here and there, but they have all made a good, robust, healthy play --- the star of which is the entire ensemble.

Love,
===Anon.


"As You Like It" (18, 19, 25 & 26 August)
PROJECT SHAKESPEARE 1997
The Publick Theatre, Christian A Herter Park, 1175 Soldiers Field Road, BRIGHTON
1(617)782-5425
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