Theatre : Just as you like it
One of Shakespeare's most performed comedies, "As You Like It," is a comedic love story written before dramatic declarations of love became clichés. It follows the tales of two young lovers, Orlando (Danny Jensen) and Rosalind (Amy Elizabeth Sabin), who deal with conflict, subterfuge, banishment, and circumstances that cause each to wind up alone and adrift in the forest.
Directed by Nicole Galland and artfully performed in the magical atmosphere of the Tisbury Amphitheatre, the show is a thoroughly enjoyable theatrical experience - particularly so on a summer's eve.
Billy Meleady gives the play many of its memorable moments in his role as the wise fool Touchstone. His performance might have stolen the show if it weren't for the scene-stealing Amy Elizabeth Sabin in the role of the engaging Rosalind. Disguised as a man for much of the performance, Rosalind delivers some of the play's wittiest dialogue.
As Orlando, Mr. Jensen's evokes both sympathy and empathy. For those who are suckers for romance, bring pencils: you will likely want to write down some of the impassioned one-liners exchanged by Rosalind and Orlando.
The entire cast warrants praise: Chelsea McCarthy's larger than life portrayal of Celia; Katharine Pilcher's and Mac Young's sparks, Phebe and Silvius; and Adriana Stimola's triple-threat skills in her portrayal of three different characters (Adam, Corin and Audry) all of whom she makes irresistible.
Shakespeare's dialogue, which is often perceived as being so impossibly subtle even its obvious elements might be missed, may at first be a bit daunting. The banter is quick and poetic, and requires the listener's attention. Appreciating all of the words can require some effort by the audience. It is Shakespeare after all, and requires more than passive listening. However, even if the exact words are lost in the rapid flow of the Elizabethan language, everything is so skillfully acted the audience can understand everything that happens. The plot eventually reveals itself quite easily.
The play offers debates and soliloquies on themes such as "urban vs. rural" and how people perceive the passage of time differently.
There are the plusses and minuses of the Amphitheatre: On sunny days, the light slides in between the trees leaving streaks on the stage - pretty, until the sun shifts and shines into the eyes of the audience. There are some pesky bugs (bring repellent), the occasional plane overhead, and the hard wooden benches - all minor inconveniences. The Amphitheatre itself is worth the trip, and the merits of the play raise the bargain much higher than that.
Ben Williams, a recent graduate of Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, regularly contributes articles on entertainment.