As You Like It by William Shakespeare

Speeches that we’re used to hearing from a male figure sound somehow different when a woman says them.

The Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama presents Shakespeare’s As You like It in a production directed by Fontaine Syer. The play is an original gender bender with the heroine Rosalyn putting on male attire as she and her cousin Celia venture into the magical Forest of Arden. However, in the IU production there are even more complex changes.

WFIU’s George Walker talked with Assistant Director Jonathan Courtemanche about the show. “I actually played in a production of As You like It in undergraduate school,” said Courtemanche. “Since then I’ve continued to think about the roles and the way it all works. Last February Fontaine and I were talking and we began to take things a bit further than Shakespeare had. We weren’t just thinking about gender, we were thinking about how it worked with the power roles of the tale.”

“To begin with, we make the two Dukes, the old deposed Duke and the young deposing Duke into Duchesses. Now, we had two traditionally powerful figures, centers of the drama who were women.And so, Rosalyn and her cousin Celia were dealing with their mothers instead of their fathers.”

Courtemanche continued, “Further we made the shepherdess Phoebe into the shepherd Peter. As You like It, like many of the comedies ends with weddings and for this one we have two conventional couples, one same-sex male couple and one same-sex female couple getting married.”

“We’re doing a contemporary setting. Our costume designer Jennifer Sheshko is taking her inspiration from the 40s, Hyunsuk Shin is our scenic designer and we’ll have original music composed by Mark Oliveiro.”

“As we’ve been rehearsing As You Like It, there have been some very interesting discoveries. Speeches that we’re used to hearing from a male figure sound somehow different when a woman says them. There’s freshness and newness that I think the audience will really enjoy.”

As You Like It by William Shakespeare
Directed by Fontaine Syer
November 13-14 and 17-21, 2009

George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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