As You Like It

Director's Notes

This year’s Petersfield Shakespeare Festival brings you our very own Summer of Love!

Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird’s throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see no enemy

As You Like It Act II Scene v

If there is one thing the British summer time brings in abundance it is the “Festival”…

This year’s production of As You Like It, is a homage to just that! Going to a festival is like going to another country, a journey to a hip and thrilling Brigadoon, here today gone tomorrow. It involves a fair amount of travel, and probably a queue to get in but, once passed these impediments, you enter a tented world, a mini-state under canvas. British law still applies, but the rules of society are different, a little bit freer. So when the banished Rosalind abandons her female form to escape the Court, where else should she run but “Arden-Fest”, deep in a forest steeped in mystery, symbolism and mythology dating back many hundreds of years.There will be moments at a festival when you ask yourself “Why can’t life always be like this?” Enlightenments, awakenings, epiphanies and surreal happenings are commonplace. People do the strangest things at festivals – just like the inhabitants of Arden as well as those banished to the forest. As You Like It is, of course, an Elizabethan play which we decided to displace by fusing its historical context with the colourful world of the Festival in order to maintain its brio and panache.

David Barton joins the company this season to compose original music and lead our talented actor- musicians. It is a real delight to hear his wonderful score invigorate Shakespeare’s lyrics.

Chris Cuming is co-directing As You Like It with me after our collaboration on The Tempest last year. Chris has been combining traditional Elizabethan dancing with a contemporary modern freedom of expression… and as for the sheep… well I’ll let you see for yourself.

This year we have a company bursting with energy and blossoming with talent. It is a pleasure and privilege to be able to offer opportunities to both green and seasoned actors.

Thank you for joining us and we hope you enjoy this year’s productions of As You Like It, Double “Will” and our tailored summer touring programme.

Do join us and the cast in the Bard’s Bar after the performance.

Jake Smith & Chris Cuming

 

AYLI

Cast:

Duke Senior, in exile
Rosalind, his daughter
Duke Frederick, his usurping brother
Celia, Frederick’s daughter
Touchstone, the court jester
Amiens, a lord
Le Beau, a courtier
Charles, a wrestler
Oliver, son of Sir Rowland de Bois
Jacques, son of Sir Rowland de Bois
Orlando, son of Sir Rowland de Bois
Adam,an old servant
Dennis, servant to Oliver
Jacques, a melancholy traveller
Corin, an old shepherd
Silvius, a young shepherd
Phoebe, a shepherdess
William, a countryman
Audrey, a goatherd
Sir Oliver Martext, a clergyman
Hymen, god of marriage
First Lord
Second Lord
Courtier

 

David Podger
Twyla Doone
Nada Sharp
Laura Peterson
William Bedford-Russell
Tom O’Kelly
Dannie Pye
Freddie Wride
Ed Taylor-Gooby
Robert Hamilton
Sam Hollis/Bailey Pilbeam
Simon Mackarness
Robert Hamilton
Albert De Jongh
Norman Stewart
Crispin Glancy/Henry Hayward
Susie Coutts/Freya Solly
Freddie Wride
Sarah Martin/Katie Solly
Ed Taylor-Gooby
Dannie Pye
Adam Young
Fred Hughes-Stanton
Lily Parker

Cast:

Duke Senior, in exile
Rosalind, his daughter
Duke Frederick, his usurping brother
Celia, Frederick’s daughter
Touchstone, the court jester
Amiens, a lord
Le Beau, a courtier
Charles, a wrestler
Oliver, son of Sir Rowland de Bois
Jacques, son of Sir Rowland de Bois
Orlando, son of Sir Rowland de Bois
Adam,an old servant
Dennis, servant to Oliver
Jacques, a melancholy traveller
Corin, an old shepherd
Silvius, a young shepherd
Phoebe, a shepherdess
William, a countryman
Audrey, a goatherd
Sir Oliver Martext, a clergyman
Hymen, god of marriage
First Lord
Second Lord
Courtier

 

David Podger
Twyla Doone
Nada Sharp
Laura Peterson
William Bedford-Russell
Tom O’Kelly
Dannie Pye
Freddie Wride
Ed Taylor-Gooby
Robert Hamilton
Sam Hollis/Bailey Pilbeam
Simon Mackarness
Robert Hamilton
Albert De Jongh
Norman Stewart
Crispin Glancy/Henry Hayward
Susie Coutts/Freya Solly
Freddie Wride
Sarah Martin/Katie Solly
Ed Taylor-Gooby
Dannie Pye
Adam Young
Fred Hughes-Stanton
Lily Parker

"Fleet the time carelessly, as they did in the golden age"

Like many Shakespearean plays, As You Like It is a great reflector of its time. A glimpse through the casts and directors of past productions gives a nostalgic whiff of how the play might have been presented since its first performance at the Globe in 1599. The best litmus test is perhaps given by the figure of Rosalind, a role so witty (& wordy) it seems very likely that Shakespeare had a particularly gifted boy actor in mind, as Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing & The Merry Wives of Windsor are all from the same period, with strong principal roles in Viola, Beatrice & Mistress Page. Peggy Ashcroft, Vanessa Redgrave and Juliet Stevenson all played Rosalind. In varying degrees you can smell the greasepaint and powder. And in the late 1960’s, as David Bowie was reinventing androgynous cool, Ronald Pickup played the witty heroine in an all-male production at the Old Vic. (Similarly, black actor Adrian Lester in Cheek By Jowl’s 1991 version). So As You Like It is a play whose very title is an invitation to subversion; it turns normal on its head, using all the “rules” of gender & class as mere ingredients to produce its own heady, life-affirming cocktail. Few productions probably need the warning from a recent version: “Contains nudity, violence, flashing images”. But perhaps the way Shakespeare built on his source material is a useful indicator of its tone and perennial impact. Thomas Lodge’s prose romance Rosalynde was published in 1590, itself a reworking of a mediaeval poem The Tale of Gamelyn. The bones of the story are there in sibling rivalry and the exile of a brother into the forest. However, Shakespeare moves the action from the Forest of Ardennes in France to Warwickshire’s Forest of Arden (which partly explains some of the French references & characters: Le Beau, Amiens “Monsieur…”). He also introduces the fashionably melancholic Jacques to give an arch, “Jack Dee” voice in the forest, and Touchstone to provide the broader comedy timing of a Fool. Significantly, though, he plays down any looming shadows that might spoil the bucolic atmosphere. Yes, there’s Oliver’s mistreatment of his brother, but there is minimal evil moustachio-twirling: Duke Frederick’s usurpation of Duke Senior is almost ancient history, and the latter has settled comfortably into his new rural lifestyle with borderline Zen acceptance. It is Arden that allows and creates this atmosphere. The forest is real life, genuine and earthy compared to the machinations & paranoia of the court. But it is also utopia, a playground, permissive and sexy: Glastonbury without the mud (we hope!). It provides the opportunity and catalyst not just for celebration but for change. Characters at court are tongue-tied and repressed; in the country: unfettered, frank, and even scarily direct. There’s something in the air or the water, and, of course, the season. In the heat of summer everyone seems to be amorously chasing or being chased by somebody else. Add to that the frisson of cross-dressing, and you need the cool head of a Rosalind to slow down the action and stage-manage it to a more formal conclusion. Even the implacable Oliver, sent into the forest to hunt for Orlando, falls under the spell (no fairies or love potion required: take a rest Oberon & Puck) and falls for “Aliena” / Celia. Fittingly, in this festival atmosphere, the play ends in the best tradition of comedies with music and dance. Words have played their part (and how glorious to think that Adam’s were probably first mouthed by the Bard himself when he played the part at the Globe!) but now that lessons have been learned, reparations made and partners matched, it’s time to dance. After all, in the words of a current single penned by a latter-day bard, Guy Garvey, song-writer and singer of “Elbow”: “It’s really all disco”…

Chris Hollis

 

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Production:

Producers
Co-Directors
Assistant Director
Composer/Musical Director
Costume Designer
Technical Director
Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Wardrobe Mistress
Wardrobe Assistant
Sound Operator
Production Carpenters
Front of House Manager
Bar Manager
Box Office Manager

Lucy Hollis and Clare Glancy
Chris Cuming and Jake Smith
Sam Gaffney
David Barton
Nicole Small
William Glancy
Amanda Kerstein
Jessica Marsh
Eve Oakley
Eleanor Banasik
Jude Wilson
Brian Bird/Rob Solly
Rachel Gorvin
Sally Thomas
Jack Glancy

 

Production:

Producers
Co-Directors
Assistant Director
Composer/Musical Director
Costume Designer
Technical Director
Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Wardrobe Mistress
Wardrobe Assistant
Sound Operator
Production Carpenters
Front of House Manager
Bar Manager
Box Office Manager

Lucy Hollis and Clare Glancy
Chris Cuming and Jake Smith
Sam Gaffney
David Barton
Nicole Small
William Glancy
Amanda Kerstein
Jessica Marsh
Eve Oakley
Eleanor Banasik
Jude Wilson
Brian Bird/Rob Solly
Rachel Gorvin
Sally Thomas
Jack Glancy