Category Archives: Performance

Being Deaf in a Loud Tavern

What happens when a character’s language cannot be spoken
but can be communicated visually?

Henry IV Tavern

Henry Seago as Poins in 1 Henry IV (OSF, 2010).

This is one of the first questions Michael W. Shurgot asks in his analysis of the translation of a particularly “tricky” language to use in a Shakespearean play: American Sign Language (ASL). Whereas American-English speaking actors can “translate” Shakespearean language through enunciation and the use of American accents, it becomes extremely difficult when there is no Shakespearean era equivalent to the language a character is trying to use. This was the predicament actor Howie Seago found himself in when he was cast as Poins in the production of 1 Henry IV at the 2010 Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). Continue reading

Wrestling in As You Like It

Cynthia Marshall discusses the wrestling scene of As You Like It as it plays into the school of thought that the play is not one of simple light-hearted comedy. As lenses such as feminism and the questioning of social statuses are introduced into scholarly dialogue, the heavier themes of Shakespeare are being extrapolated  (Marshall 265). The themes of fratricide and the anxiety of fissures within families, social implications of lineage and gender stability can be explored through interpretations of the wrestling match. The wrestling match also brings to light the idea of the lines between reality and performance blurring in a way that brings the anxieties of the play closer to the audience. Continue reading

Shield of Ganymede

In an analysis of her own performance as Rosalind in As You Like It, Juliet Stevenson offers up some insight into the role that gave one particular scene a new meaning to me.  The scene in question is act 4 scene 1, wherein Orlando has just returned to Rosalind, whom he still believes to be Ganymede.   What I found notable about Stevenson’s take on Ganymede is that he is not simply a pseudonym being used by Rosalind in this scene, but instead a device she uses to protect herself, turning it on and off at will.  Continue reading

ALL THE WORLD’S A MALL: The 80s Are Back!

IF SHAKESPEARE WERE ALIVE TODAY, HE WOULD HAVE WRITTEN LIKE THIS.” The score … would be chart-climbers if this were a time when show tunes still climbed charts. -David Finkle,



What happens when you mix the classic William Shakespeare comedy of As You Like It with the wildly popular genre of music and culture of John Hughes’ 1980s films?

The result is a new and exciting musical adventure centered on the coolest locale of the time… the Robin Sparkles-esque 1980s mall scene.

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Performing Power Dynamics for Celia and Rosalind

Celia and Rosalind—Rosalind and Celia—are not just a retread of Helena and Hermia from A Midsummers Night’s Dream. Their identities, though bound to and mirrored in each other, also clash, and not over the ways they’re alike. Power, from the outset, between the two women is up for grabs, but not in standard competition. There’s no object of mimetic desire suspended between them, and they’re no subject of someone else’s. The power exists only between them and can only be granted from one to the other.

The question then, is, how to play them?

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Thompson’s Rosalind

Sophie Thompson played both the roles of Celia and Rosalind, in succession with different companies. According to her essay, Rosalind (and Celia) in As You Like It, having played Celia before taking on the role of Rosalind informed how she embodied Rosalind. As the characters are so intertwined throughout the play this is hardly surprising. But did the playing of Celia impact how Thompson played Rosalind in a beneficial way? Continue reading

Guess Who’s Coming to Arden

As You Like It 1

It is not uncommon for directors, both film and theater alike, to perform a Shakespeare play in modern or non-Elizabethan settings with atypical casting choices, and the comedy As You Like It is no exception. Looking through twenty-first century adaptions of As You Like It, I noticed an interesting commonality between two recent film versions of the play (Kenneth Branagh’s 2006 production and Marika Sonja Cotter’s 2012 version titled LOVE: As You Like It): the De Boys characters were played by black men. Continue reading