Calling all lovers, all travelers and fools. Trying to find meaning in the madness? Overwhelmed by the clutter and stress of modern life? Banished by a usurping duke? Kentwood Players invites you to run away with us to The Forest of Arden. As You Like It gives us only what we like: sibling rivalry, mistaken identities, cross dressing, an eight way wedding… while bringing us some of Shakespeare’s best written characters.
Duke Senior is banished from the city by his usurping brother. As he happily takes up residence in the Forest of Arden, Rosalind (his daughter) stays behind in the oppressive court of the new Duke. While in the city she briefly meets and falls in love with Orlando. Unfortunately, before the lovers have a chance to get to know each other, the new Duke banishes Rosalind. Off she goes, disguised as a boy, to the Forest of Arden. Along with her go her cousin Celia, Touchstone the clown, and a thoughtful optimism which allows her to see a joyful duality in everything.
The forest presents us with a strange pageant of accidental meetings and comical pairings. Within the forest we meet the famous Jaques, a melancholy wit well known for recounting that “All the World’s a Stage.” This is a suitable quip, for the forest becomes a space where each character can play out their fantasies and create their own identities.
The city, here envisioned by Karintha Touton and Jeremy Speed Schwartz, is an over-industrialized, media saturated setting. As the characters escape to Arden, they begin to transform. So too does the scenery, shifting into a fanciful space where business suits, bows and arrows, palm trees, and lionesses exist side by side. The media transforms along with the environment, going from a mass media culture to one of live music and poetry hung on trees. The songs, composed by local Indy artist Ben Jaffe, are a blend of modern folk and rock which call to the simple pleasures of the country life but with a distinctive contemporary sound.
Director Karintha Touton believes that “Theater is our Forest of Arden. We all have to exist in the clutter and stress of this modern world, but Kentwood is a place we can escape to for a time, where anything can happen, and where we can play out the better parts of ourselves. There couldn’t be a better time to bring As You Like It to a modern audience. Don’t miss it!”