Saturday, October 04, 2014
Review: Centenary College presents the Bard's As You Like It backstage at Marjorie Lyons Playhouse
Watching young actors intersect in theater in the round was one of the most exciting elements of the Centenary College production of Shakespeare's As You Like It on Friday. Curtains drawn, the players and the audience were all back stage. Happily, the seats were comfortable and the audience around us was affable.
Jordan Fell was masterful as Rosalind in the love story, even if half the play the appealing young woman was garbed in men's clothes and pencilled mustache. Grace Rambo, known to me previously as a capable writer of short stories, proved a competent Celia, an articulate partner to Fell's heroine. The athletic swain, Orlando, was boundingly played by Michael Nguyen. Along with a strong voice he brought a smile and sense of lightheartedness to his role and to the stage.
Trying to steal every scene - and doing it via gymnastic flash and comic timing - was Aiden Poling, who played Touchstone.
Director Heather Peak-Hooper clad the cast in mufti; it seemed to add energy to the show. She and fight director Mark Guinn also created a spectacular opening via an extended fight scene.
As You Like It is a comedy. My guess is that if the audience did its part with some preparation for the play, the laughs would fall into place. Not all the student actors were as articulate as the lead figures, but that shortfall is partly offset by audience proximity to the actors.
The bard's study of gender and language play in As You Like It was not written for the modern attention span. At about two and a half hours in length, this play is recommended for those who care both about Shakespeare, about community theater and about supporting rising stars.
All the 90 seats were sold on Friday night. Tickets at the door and online. $15 adults; $10 seniors, alumni, military; $5 for non-Centenary students. Info: Lorna Dopson at the box office, 318.869.5074.
Performances continue Sat, Oct 4, at 8 p.m. and in a matinee Sun, Oct 5, at 2 p.m at Centenary’s Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. Please see photos here.