So, a week ago, I attended a cinema screening of the recent Royal Shakespeare Company production of As You Like It. I went with some alums of my AYL, my producer Laura, and cast members Chris and Ashley.
It was all right.
Now I’ve always been a bigger fan of Shakespeare’s Globe than the RSC. And I’m an absolute devotee of the Globe’s DVD-released AYL (in fact, I had a “field trip” to my house as the rehearsal process began to show them that production to give them a feel for the vibe, joy, and audience interaction that I was looking for in our production).
So in a sense, I wasn’t expecting great things from the RSC (I’ve always found their stuff a little … I don’t know … reserved. Not stodgy. Not “museum Shakespeare.” Just a bit off-putting.
And so it was the case here.
There were some absolutely magical moments. They, too, cut up Duke Senior’s lord’s description of Jaques’ mourning of the deer, to allow for more interaction between the on-stage speakers. But they took it one step further: with Senior and his men aloft discussing Jaques, Jaques appeared below to say his own lines. Just wonderful.
They presented all the court scenes before going to the forest for the first time, allowing for the audience to see all the characters changing, and revealing forest set. Great.
but then they lost me.
Look, I know the William scene can be–is–cruel. But to have Audrey be a deaf actor who relies upon an onstage friend to orally interpret her signing, and then to make THAT friend William to get cast away… just too much for me.
But I did love their use of post-its for the poetry…