`As You Like It' takes a bow in Summer Garden version

Director omits Act I, changes story's ending

July 01, 1999|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre says that "As You Like It" contains more songs than any other play by Shakespeare, which makes it a good choice for the next production of the musically inclined company.

ASGT continues its season with tomorrow's opening of an amended "As You Like It," featuring madrigals arranged or composed by Renaissance specialist Susan Nace of Colorado. The play will run for 17 performances through July 31.

Much in vogue after Hollywood's recent Oscar-winning film "Shakespeare in Love" and having been voted "man of the millennium" in Britain, Shakespeare is also a proven favorite locally.

In director Steve Evans' shortened and revised version of "As You Like It," the audience presumably will still find fantasy, romance and humor in the enchanted Forest of Arden. But Evans has cut out Act I, and the ending has been changed.

Set in France when it was divided into provinces, the play tells of Duke Frederick, who has usurped the dukedom of his older brother, Duke Senior, and banished him to the Forest of Arden. The banished duke is joined by his faithful followers, who enjoy life away from court.

The play is replete with brothers and cousins. Similarly to the rightful duke, good brother Orlando -- son of Sir Rowland deBays, who is loyal to Duke Senior -- is deprived of his inheritance by older brother Oliver and is banished to the forest.

The banished duke's only daughter, Rosalind, has been detained in Frederick's court as a companion for his daughter, Celia.

The real action begins when Rosalind becomes smitten with Orlando. Rosalind disguises herself as a peasant boy, Ganymede, and travels with Celia, dressed as a peasant girl, to the Forest of Arden to find Orlando.

In the forest, Ganymede learns from Orlando of his love for Rosalind. Eventually Ganymede's true identity is revealed. Brothers seek and obtain forgiveness -- Oliver from Orlando and Frederick from Duke Senior.

ASGT's cast includes director Steve Evans as Duke Senior. His loyal followers are Jacques, played by Clarke Madden, and Amiens, played by Thomas Magette, who also plays vicar Oliver Martext and serves as music director.

Veteran Annapolis actor Ed Wintermute plays three parts: Adam, a servant, Corin, a shepherd and Hymen. Rosalind is played by Lauren Kirby; Celia by Elizabeth Batchelder; Oliver by Kris Winther-Hansen; and Orlando by M. Lance Luke.

Michael Giles plays the clown Touchstone and serves as consulting director.

The production staff includes Morey Norkin, assistant director; production managers Kerry Baldwin and Carolyn Kirby; and costume coordinator Mindy Braden. The technical coordinator is Peter O'Malley, who also does sound and set design and is in charge of lighting design with Dottie Meggers.

"As You Like It" runs Thursdays through Sundays through July 31 at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, 103 Compromise St., Annapolis. No performances will be given Sunday.

ASGT, as a "theater under the stars," starts all performances at 8: 30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students. Information and reservations: 410-268-9212.

Pub Date: 7/01/99

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