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As You Like It - At The Mill Theatre, Thurso

4th March 2009

Photograph of As You Like It  - At The Mill Theatre, Thurso

Thurso Players are busy gearing up for their latest production and, with an onstage cast of 21 along with an offstage support team of 20, it is proving to be a quite a considerable undertaking.

Directed by Denise Imrie, 'As You Like It', is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare written between 1598 and1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The work was based upon the novel 'Rosalynde' by Thomas Lodge.

While the play features one of Shakespeare's most famous and oft-quoted soliloquies, "All the world's a stage", it did not receive the critical acclaim of his better known works and it has been said that Shakespeare wrote the play as a mere crowd-pleaser, signalling his own middling opinion of the work by calling it As You Like It as if he did not agree.

Much of the play is set in the Forest of Arden, although some early scenes take place in the palace of Duke Frederick. The Duke has deposed his older brother, Duke Senior, causing him to flee to the forest with some of his followers. Senior's daughter Rosalind, has been kept at the court because she and Duke Frederick's daughter, Celia, have been friends since childhood.

Orlando, kept in an impoverished state by his elder brother Oliver, takes part in a wrestling match at the court which is witnessed by Celia and Rosalind. Orlando and Rosalind instantly fall in love with one another, though Rosalind keeps this fact a secret from everyone but Celia.

Without warning, Duke Frederick has a change of heart regarding Rosalind and banishes her from court. She decides to flee to the Forest of Arden and leaves with Celia, who cannot bear to be parted from her friend. To ensure the safety of their journey, Rosalind assumes the dress of a young man and takes the name Ganymede, while Celia dresses as a common shepherdess and calls herself Aliena. Orlando also flees the court and meets Ganymede in the forest. Taking her to be a young man, Orlando confides in Rosalind that his affections are overpowering him.

Rosalind, as Ganymede, claims to be an expert in exorcising such emotions and promises to cure Orlando of lovesickness if he agrees to pretend that Ganymede is Rosalind and promises to come woo her every day. Orlando agrees, and the love lessons begin.

With music, song, dance and Shakespeare's rich language the play has many delightful twists and turns until the final scene.

The performance runs at the Mill Theatre from Wednesday 25th to Friday 27th March at 7.30pm each evening. Tickets, priced at 7.00 & 5.00 (concessions) can be booked by calling the Box Office on Thurso 894698.

 

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