As You Like It

That Nature offers refuge from the artificial self importance and man made pollution of the city is taken for granted these days by everyone except our President and the moneyed interests he serves, but 400 years ago the author of the Shakespearean canon was the first English writer to make this point and, in fact, remained alone in this observation for almost an hundred years.

In the case of As You Like It, currently in production by the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, it is Arden Forest that serves as both protection and playground for a usurped Duke and his retinue of servants, friends, sympathizers and fellow banished citizens. Against this backdrop we have the familiar Shakespearean themes of love, male-female role playing, and transformation.

Sarah Lauren Fallon is engaging and confident as Rosalind, the prototypical romantic heroine from which Portia, Beatrice and Viola are later drawn. She is wooed by the irrepressible Orlando, a winsome and forthright Timothy Carter, who pins pining missives on hundreds of trees.

The bard also introduces some other character types of note including: Touchstone, anticipating Twelfth Night's Feste and Lear's Fool, given a deft turn by Dennis Elkins; Jacques, a melancholy observer in the vein of Hamlet; and William, a recurrent poseur that represents the fellow who got credit for writing these plays rather than the true author.

Bruce Bergner's inventive scenic design and Kevin Dunayer's subtle soundtrack breath life into Lynn Nichols' happily unobtrusive direction. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival's playful As You Like It runs through August 17th in repertory with Two Gentlemen of Verona, Queen Margaret (an adaptation of Henry VI, Parts I, II, and III), and King Lear through August 17th. 303-492-0554.


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