As You Like It – Theatre Royal Winchester

One of my favorite parts of Shakespeare’s work is its adaptability to modern audiences.  So much of this is because much of what Shakespeare wrote still has significant influence on playwrights and screenplay writers today.  Such an example is As You Like It, which we saw last night at the Theatre Royal in Winchester.  In the show the leading lady Rosalind is exiled to the woods, where she must live as man.  There she encounters the man she loves, Orlando, and teaches him how to properly woo a lady.  We see echoes of this in modern movies like She’s the Man (a personal favorite) but moreso this play invites discussion into gender roles and stereotypes that have become a hot issue.  In class we discussed the implications about gender written into the script, making As You Like It seem way ahead of its time.

I was excited going into the show and was pleased to see that the actress playing Rosalind really stole the show for me.  A strong female character is a rare find in Elizabethan Drama, and so it was great to see this actress bring such strength, wit, humor, and humility to the character of Rosalind and her male alter ego Ganymede.  As she stepped forward to deliver the epilogue, I was totally captivated by how conversational she managed to make the Shakespearean verse sound.  As an actor, sometimes we develop small acting crushes on people in shows we see that are particularly strong, and this was the case for me.  While the show in comparison to the grandeur and flash of the Globe and the RSC was much more quaint and homey, it had it’s own unique charm and sense of community throughout.  Where the Globe and RSC bring in thousands of guests (and pounds) each week, As You Like It felt more like a show created to give a fun, light hearted night to its audiences, leaving everyone with a smile on their face at the end of the night.

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