As You Like It, the bard’s most romantic of comedies gets a 1960s makeover by the Raven Players in their far out production, presented outdoors at West Plaza Park in Healdsburg, July 25 through August 10.
Director Steven David Martin is setting this production in the Summer of Love, 1967. “”It makes a lot of sense to me, Says Martin, “ First of all, you have arguably Shakespeare’s most complete and engaging female character, Rosalind, a woman who is not short of confidence, with and intelligence. For a character written in the early 1600s she has amazing relevance to the women battling the patriarchal society of the 1960s – and today. Second, this is a play all about love – by the end of the show, four couples are about to be, well, coupled! Third, since Rosalind spends about 2/3 of the play disguised as a man, that gave us a great opportunity to have fun with the “dudeness” of the time. And, of course, the fashions and incredible music of the 60s will play a big role in the production.
Perhaps best of all, admission is free this year thanks to sponsorship from the Healdsburg Tourism Improvement District and the City of Healdsburg. The performance space is West Plaza Park, the grassy area next to the Bear Republic Brewing Company in Healdsburg.
Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets and camp chairs, sweaters and sweatshirts, picnics and friends and enjoy this fantastic comedy outdoors under the stars. As Billy Shakes would say, “Right On!”
Oh, and the plot: Orlando comes to court to confront his older brother Oliver about his neglect after their father’s death. Oliver plots get rid of Orlando by having the court wrestler Charles, take him out in a wrestling match. However, Orlando scores an upset win and also wins the heart of Rosalind, whose cool dad, Duke Senior, has been banished by his evil brother Duke Frederick (The Man). In he Forest of Arden Duke Senior leads a mellow group of exiled lords – the “Arden Commune” in this production. Meanwhile Duke Frederick banishes Rosalind, and his own daughter Celia (Rosalind’s BFF). For safety’s sake Rosalind disguises herself as a dude named Ganymede, they escape to the Forest of Arden to find Duke Senior, where she encounters Orlando who, of course doesn’t recognize her. As Ganymede, Rosalind gives Orlando love lessons in how to woo Rosalind. Confused yet? See the show and you won’t be! From there, comic misunderstandings, mistaken identities, star crossed lovers pile up in a way only Shakespeare can pull off. The result is a fabulously funny, richly textured and often insightful story of love, loss and redemption. It also contains one of the Bards most famous speeches, “All the world’s a stage …”
Directed by Martin, the cast features an array of Sonoma County’s finest actors including Grace Reid, Azulito Bernal, Haley Hollis, Matt Farrell, Athena Gundlach, Maddie Larson, Zack Acevedo, Declan Hackett and many more.
Please join us for this return to the Summer of Love, Shakespeare style! Remember it’s FREE!
July 25 – August 10, 7:30pm
West Plaza Park, next to the Bear Republic Brewing Company