left: Anna Telfer as Rosalind

Brad Elliott

left: Anna Telfer as Rosalind

‘As You Like It’ at Westmont

An Alternative Arden for Shakespeare’s Classic Comedy

This delightful production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It got off to a spectacular start with cheering attendants loudly hailing the arrival at court of the royal wrestler Charles and never let up in either pacing or pleasure from there on until the final masque.

Westmont students Sean McElrath and Anna Telfer played Orlando and Rosalind, respectively, the leading lovers in a play that’s full of amorous couples, clever wordplay, and gorgeous poetry. Powered along by director John Blondell’s ingenious movements and gestures, the action took place in a remarkably interesting alternative Arden devised by designer Yuri Okahana. The fascinating work of this experimental set designer included a large rotating greenhouse that was straight out of Home Depot and a forest of highly Shakespearean grafting trees built from rolling stools and plastic garbage bags. The uncanny effectiveness of this low-tech look underscored the show’s defiantly direct aesthetic.

Sterling supporting performances were almost too numerous to mention, but no account of this production would be complete without recognizing the hysterical interludes provided by Merckx Dascomb as Touchstone and Karly Kuntz as Audrey. Bravo to these young actors and to the Westmont theater program for once again making Shakespeare fun, and funny.

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