On Thursday, Nov. 14, I had the pleasure of viewing the opening night of “As you Like It” put on by the Prep and Villa Theater program. “As You Like It” is a pastoral comedy written by William Shakespeare. While you might be under the impression that a play by Shakespeare cannot be funny, I assure you that this production is indeed funny. The play is filled with colorful dialogue and many laugh-out-loud moments, and this particular production was teeming with outstanding performances. It was directed by the great Fr. Mike DeMartinis who always brings great energy and enthusiasm on the stage.
“As You Like It” centers around Rosalind (Natalie Prischak) as she flees persecution in her uncle’s (Fr. Mike DeMartinis) court. Accompanied by her cousin Celia (Hannah Kirschner) and the court jester Touchstone (Seamus Clerkin), she manages to find safety, and eventually love in the Forest of Arden. While in the forest, she disguises herself as a man named Ganymede and encounters Orlando (Jack Kelly) who previously encountered Rosalind and immediately fell in love with her. Rosalind challenges Orlando’s love-sick state by suggesting that he prove his love by wooing Ganymede as if he were Rosalind. Meanwhile, love begins to form between others in the forest.
I found this play to be especially enjoyable, and it was nice to see the lighter side of Shakespeare not characterized by violence and tragedy. The outstanding performances in the production are what really blew me away, especially those of the leads Kelly and Prischak. The amount of dedication and preparation that the cast and crew put into this production is humbling, and I hold all of them in the highest regard. It is truly something wonderful, and it is a production you definitely don’t want to miss out on.
The fact that the stage was filled with many familiar faces was also very amusing to me, because I would have never pictured them in such a setting. I was surprised by how well they all did, especially Sean Taylor who lit up the stage with his dialogue and enthusiasm. For some actors, this was their first Prep theater performance, including my good friend Shaun Evans, who played Charles the Wrestler. Seeing him wrestle on stage was the highlight of my week, as I would have never pictured him in such a role.
When I asked Shaun about the preparation that went into this production he said, “We started doing an act a day in mid October, but by late October we ran through the entire play almost every day.” In regard to his experience he said, “It was amazing. I was able to meet and interact with so many great people, and it was a new and exciting experience.” He regrets not getting involved before his senior year, and he definitely wants to act in another play.
Everything from the outstanding acting and storyline to the colorful costumes and dialogue make “As You Like It” a must see, and I urge you to experience it for yourself. The remaining show times are tonight (Friday) and Saturday, Nov. 15-16 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.
Do yourself a favor and support the Prep/Villa theater program by attending “As You Like It”, as well as all future productions, the next of which is “Oliver!”. Auditions for “Oliver!” will be held on November 25-26 at 3:30 p.m. in Prep’s auditorium, and performance dates are set to be held from January 30-February 2.