Sunday, July 27, 2014

Shakespeare's "As You Like It" by New York Classical Theater

“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players"
The magnificent New York Classical panoramic theater celebrates 15h anniversary summer season with the staging of William Shakespeare's "As You Like It", directed by Stephen Burdman.  I attended a couple of their performances, first in Central Park and then in Battery Park. It's been so fun to draw the actors and to follow them from scene to scene, as they prompt the sometimes unsuspecting audience that it's time to get up and move to a new location. That's what "panoramic theater" is all about: the action happens practically in the audience, and the park's beautiful landscape becomes the stage set. It's only so appropriate for "As You Like It", because most of the play is set inside the Forest of Ardenne. The powerful energy of the actors keeps me coming back year after year-I can't get enough of drawing their movement, expressions and emotions.  New York Classical theater delivers free public performances all over New York, and most of their funding comes from donations. Please spread the word about them, like them on Facebook, and attend their amazing free stagings of the best classical masterpieces. No ticket needed-just show up. Congratulations on the 15th anniversary, and cheers to many more!

Crowds gathering in front of Castle Clinton in Battery Park, NYC
First scene in Battery Park
Rosalind, with cousin Celia, being banished by Duke Frederick.
Duke Frederick on why he's banishing Rosalind from his court: " Thou art thy father's daughter, there's enough." Celia is terrified. 
Rosalind, disguised as a young man, in the Forest of Ardenne.

Rosalind, Touchstone and the shepherd
This very young actor, who played the old faithful servant Adam, practically stole the show. His name is Jackson Demott Hill. It was very sweet to meet his grandmother on one of the nights I was drawing at the Battery Park. She proudly told me that's her grandson out there. This brilliant casting decision me think of Shakespeare's words:  "An old man is twice a child."
Orlando and Jaques

Celia, Orlando and Rosalind in disguise


Touchstone: “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
Phoebe and Charles
Touchstone and Audrey
Rosalind: “Men are April when they woo, December when they wed...”
Orlando, Rosalind and Celia

Rosalind to Orlando: "“Do you not know I am a woman? When I think, I must speak.”
Adam and Orlando
Adam: “You and you are sure together,
As the winter to foul weather.”

“Love is merely a madness.”