About As You Like It - 2012

From the programme

‘As You Like It’, is an interesting title! There are no clues in the text of this play as to why it’s called this. Current thinking is that the title is a message to the audience of the day - this is a play with all the things you love: forests, lovers, cross dressing heros & heroines, clowns and weddings, a play exactly As You Like It. If this is true, it tells us quite a lot about the tastes of Londoners around 1600.

In Victorian times, it was the most performed Shakespeare. This may be, in part, because it is a wonderful comparison of class and society versus nature and freedom, but also probably because of its incredibly strong female lead: Rosalind.

This is the largest female role in the entire Shakespeare canon and any actor taking on this role has a fabulous journey to make, and in some prestigious footsteps! Almost every female actor of note has played this part, and with the opportunities the script provides, it’s easy to see its appeal.

Ours is very much a company production with all actors and team contributing to the piece. We have approached this production with a sense of fun and learning, and I’m immensely proud of the result.

I’d like to end on a personal note. Polesden Lacy Shakespeare was a major part of my youth and growth as an actor and director, so I’d like to thank you all for coming to support and continuing the tradition. With the right weather, and a good production, there can be no greater pleasure than Open Air Shakespeare. I sincerely hope you enjoy this production and that it is exactly As You Like It.

Paul Longhurst

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