Monday, December 7, 2009
As You Like It (or Not)
The play starts with a clever and well-executed live recreation of a silent movie clip, setting the scene for the beginning of the action. The scene then shifts to a conventional theater stage, with décor and costumes implying puritan England. Things work well like this until the main characters all flee tyranny and end up in the forest of Arden, which has somehow been relocated to the East Coast of North America. The same stage magic that merged two continents also transformed time, placing the continuing action just prior to the American Revolution.
That transition was jarring and a little disorienting. But the tie in with a search for freedom made it somewhat palatable. Unfortunately it didn’t stop there. Suddenly years and sets began to change at a dizzying pace. The play skipped merrily through almost 200 years in two hours which seemed like an eternity.
But wait, there’s more: the movie theme resurfaced. With each scene change various camera crews, gaffers, etc., swarmed the stage, then faded into the wings.
I kept waiting for the director to tie it all together, but when the spectacle was over, I was merely confused and disappointed.
NOTE: Today's review was written by the man in the good seats, Eric H.