As You Like It

Content Group

Overview
As You Like It: David Fielder as Touchstone

This play has been judged one of the lightest and most elegant of Shakespeare's comedies, befitting its artificial mode as a pastoral set in a mock rural landscape of the Forest of Arden, with both realistic and feigned shepherds and shepherdesses. It involves a typical multiple permutation of characters and situations: four pairs of lovers, two sets of adversary brothers, two ducal courts, two heiresses, and two clowns. One of this last pair, Touchstone, is exceptionally subtle, and may reflect the character of Robert Armin who replaced Will Kempe, with his the broader humor. It ends with four marriages. All these revolve round the cathartic ambiguity of the play's central character of Rosalind, who flees the court of her usurping uncle disguised as boy, but affects a female attitude in soliciting courtship when she finds her admirer Orlando in the Forest. Thus we have a uniquely complex role for the original Elizabethan boy actor: at some points he is a boy actor playing a princess who is disguised as a boy pretending to be a girl with her fiancé. One wonders at the mental agility and performance skills which this complexity required of the role's first boy actor (consider this effect in modern terms in Cheek By Jowl's 1995 production). It is almost equally testing of a modern actress, who may lose the emotional poise required (consider, for instance, Vanessa Redgrave as Rosalind). Modern set designers have a great deal of fun deciding which season of the Forest is appropriate, often favoring Winter, but evolving to Spring.

Images
As You Like It, Cheek By Jowl, 1995
As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1998
As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1998
As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1961
As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1961
As You Like It: Lily Brayton as Rosalind, Henry Ainley as Orlando
As You Like It: Lily Brayton (1876-1953) as Rosalind
As You Like It: Nora Lancaster as Rosalind
As You Like It: Katharine Hepburn as Rosalind and William Price as Orlando
As You Like It: Maggie Smith as Rosalind and Brian Bedford as Jaques
As You Like It: Caryn West as Rosalind and Kent Odell as Orlando
As You Like It: David Fielder as Touchstone
As You Like It: Ada Rehan as Rosalind
As You Like It: The wrestling scene (I.2) at the Drury Lane Theatre, London
As You Like It, Shakespeare and Company, 2004.
Riverside Theatre New York: As You Like It, 1978: Caryn West and Kent Odell.
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Commentary
Bibliography

Bowe, John. "Orlando in As You Like It." In Players of Shakespeare: Essays in Shakespearean Performance by Twelve Players with the Royal Shakespeare Company, edited by Philip Brockbank, 67-76. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Brissenden, Alan, ed. As You Like It. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater - As You Like It - Performance History

Clarke, Kate, and Lizbeth Goodman. "Reading As You Like It." In Shakespeare, Aphra Behn, and the Canon, edited by W. R. Owens and Lizbeth Goodman, 193-250. London: Routledge and Open University, 1996.

Derrick, Patty S. "Rosalind and the Nineteenth-Century Woman: Four Stage Interpretations." Theatre Survey 26 (1985): 143-62.

Dessen, Alan C. "Problems and Options in As You Like It." Shakespeare Bulletin 8 (1990): 18-21.

Dusinberre, Juliet. "Pancakes and a Date for As You Like It." Shakespeare Quarterly 54 (2003): 371-405.

Halio, Jay L. and Barbara C. Millard. As You Like It: An Annotated Bibliography, 1940-1980. New York; London: Garland, 1985.

Holding, Edith. "As You Like It Adapted: Charles Johnson's Love in a Forest." Shakespeare Survey 32 (1979): 37-48.

Lennox, Patricia. "A Girl's Got to Eat: Christine Edzard's Film of As You Like It." In Transforming Shakespeare: Contemporary Women's Re-visions in Literature and Performance, edited by Marianne Novy, 51-65. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Marriette, Amelia. "Urban Dystopias: Reapproaching Christine Edzard's As You Like It." In Shakespeare, Film, Fin de Siècle, edited by Mark Thornton Burnett and Ramona Wray, 73-88. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.

Marshall, Cynthia, ed. As You Like It. Shakespeare in Production. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Nadon, Daniel. "About As You Like It." On-Stage Studies 14 (1991): 43-46.

Ricks, Katy. "Staging As You Like It." English Review 6, no. 3 (1996): 20-24.

Ronk, Martha. "Locating the Visual in As You Like It." Shakespeare Quarterly 52 (2001): 255-76.

Shaw, Fiona and Juliet Stevenson. "Celia and Rosalind in As You Like It." In Players of Shakespeare 2: Further Essays in Shakespearean Performance by Players with the Royal Shakespeare Company, edited by Russell Jackson and Robert Smallwood, 55-71. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Smallwood, R. L. As You Like It. Shakespeare at Stratford. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2003.

Staub, August W. "Pointed Nonsense in As You Like It." On-Stage Studies 11 (1988): 21-26.

Tomarken, Edward, ed. "As You Like It" from 1600 to the Present: Critical Essays. New York; London: Garland, 1997.

Except where otherwise specified, all written commentary is © 2016, Hugh Macrae Richmond