Laugh at a classic, `As You Like It'

Comedy by the Bard at Kennedy Center in D.C.

Stage: theater, music, dance

April 17, 2003|By Michelle Jabes | Michelle Jabes,SUN STAFF

Couldn't get your hands on tickets to see Seinfeld doing stand-up at the Kennedy Center this summer? Not to worry. There are other comedic events coming up at the Kennedy Center. Instead of Jerry's "don't you hate it when ..." jokes, you could take in the wit and wisdom of the original master of wordplay, William Shakespeare.

The Royal Shakespeare Company's production of As You Like It is coming to the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater Tuesday through May 18. The comedy is the inaugural production in the RSC's five-year residency with the Kennedy Center.

One of Shakespeare's most endearing comedies, As You Like It tells a tale of brotherly feuds, mistaken identities and lessons in love. Scorned by his older brother, Orlando (Martin Hutson) takes refuge in the Forest of Arden, where Duke Senior, usurped by his brother Duke Frederick, has lived a Robin Hood-like existence since his banishment. Soon, this group is joined by a similarly exiled Rosalind (Nina Sosanya), Duke Senior's daughter and one of Shakespeare's memorable heroines.

Disguised as a young man, Rosalind comes upon Orlando and finds him lovesick for her feminine self. Rosalind takes this opportunity to test his love. Accompanied by her best friend Celia (Naomi Frederick) and the jester Touchstone (John Killoran), Rosalind leads the forest inhabitants down a path, where each turn leads to more confusion and hilarious discoveries.

Making his RSC directorial debut with As You Like It is Gregory Thompson. A production of The Tempest in 2002 by Thompson's own touring theater company, AandBC, attracted the attention of RSC artistic director Michael Boyd, who took Thompson on board to direct this production. Alison de Burgh, Britain's first female fight director, is another notable member of the As You Like It team.

In addition to the show, the Kennedy Center is offering two "Spotlight on Theater" pre-performance discussions May 1 and 15 at 6 p.m. These talks feature artists involved in all facets of production and offer the audience an opportunity to ask questions about the show and learn more about As You Like It's journey through the trials of life and love. Tickets are $10.

As You Like It

When: April 22-May 18, Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., and a 1:30 p.m. show on Thursdays.

Tickets: $25 to $70. Purchase at the Kennedy Center box office, by phone at 800-444-1324, or online at www.kennedy-center.org.

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