The play is set in a duchy in France, but most of the action takes place in a location called the 'Forest of Arden.'
Frederick has usurped the Duchy and exiled his older brother, Duke
Senior. The Duke's daughter Rosalind has been permitted to remain at
court because she is the closest friend and cousin of Frederick's only
child, Celia. Orlando, a young gentleman of the kingdom who has fallen
in love at first sight of Rosalind, is forced to flee his home after
being persecuted by his older brother, Oliver. Frederick becomes angry
and banishes Rosalind from court. Celia and Rosalind decide to flee
together accompanied by the jester Touchstone, with Rosalind disguised
as a young man and Celia disguised as a poor lady.
Rosalind, now disguised as Ganymede ("Jove's own page"), and Celia, now
disguised as Aliena (Latin for "stranger"), arrive in the Arcadian
Forest of Arden, where the exiled Duke now lives with some supporters,
including "the melancholy Jaques," who is introduced to us weeping over
the slaughter of a deer. "Ganymede" and "Aliena" do not immediately
encounter the Duke and his companions, as they meet up with Corin, an
impoverished tenant, and offer to buy his master's rude cottage.
Orlando and his servant Adam (a role possibly played by Shakespeare
himself, though this story is apocryphal), meanwhile, find the Duke and
his men and are soon living with them and posting simplistic love poems
for Rosalind on the trees. Rosalind, also in love with Orlando, meets
him as Ganymede and pretends to counsel him to cure him of being in
love. Ganymede says "he" will take Rosalind's place and "he" and
Orlando can act out their relationship.
The shepherdess Phebe, with whom Silvius is in love, has fallen in love
with Ganymede (actually Rosalind), though "Ganymede" continually shows
that "he" is not interested in Phebe. Touchstone, meanwhile, has fallen
in love with the dull-witted shepherdess, Audrey, and tries to woo her,
but eventually is forced to be married first. William, another
shepherd, attempts to marry Audrey as well, but is stopped by
Touchstone, who threatens to kill him "a hundred and 50 different ways".
Finally, Silvius, Phebe, Ganymede, and Orlando are brought together in
an argument with each other over who will get whom. Ganymede says he
will solve the problem, having Orlando promise to marry Rosalind, and
Phebe promise to marry Silvius if she cannot marry Ganymede.
Orlando sees Oliver in the forest and rescues him from a lioness,
causing Oliver to repent for mistreating Orlando (some directors treat
this as a tale, rather than reality). Oliver meets Aliena (Celia's
false identity) and falls in love with her, and they agree to marry.
Orlando and Rosalind, Oliver and Celia, Silvius and Phebe, and
Touchstone and Audrey all are married in the final scene, after which
they discover that Frederick has also repented his faults, deciding to
restore his legitimate brother to the dukedom and adopt a religious
life. Jaques, ever melancholy, declines their invitation to return to
the court preferring to stay in the forest and to adopt a religious
life. Rosalind speaks an epilogue to the audience, commending the play
to both men and women in the audience.
Shakespeare's Bumpkins and Courtiers
In As You Like It, when we meet Duke Senior, a man banished to the
Forest of Arden by his usurping younger brother, we are given a spoken
exchange that may be the most central statement to understanding
Shakespeare's comedy. The Duke speaks one of the play's most cherished
lines: "Sweet are the uses of adversity." He means that, unless he and
his court had been ousted, they would never have known the full joys of
country life. The Duke continues this idea by further extolling how
good the Forest is as opposed to the pomp of court.
The Duke's courtier Amiens responds with a slightly court-like compliment:
Happy is your Grace
That can translate the stubbornness of fortune
Into so quiet and so sweet a style.
The Duke answers Amiens with a suggestion that strikes a chord of ironic displacement:
Come, shall we go and kill us venison?
And yet it irks me the poor dappled fools,
Being native burghers of this desert city
Should in their own confines with forkéd heads
Have their round haunches gored.
Another attendant courier responds and deepens the irony:
Indeed, my lord,
The melancholy Jaques grieves at that,
And in that kind swears you do more usurp
Than doth your brother that hath banished you.
Over the course of these twelve lines, Shakespeare clusters for us the
ideas that animate the play's attitudes toward the traditional
dichotomy 'of court vs. country or urban vs. pastoral. If Arden is
wholesome and good, why does the Duke call it a 'desert city' and its
native deer 'burghers,' city dwellers? Are the literal horns of the
dappled fools' a metaphorical sneer at the deer being betrayed in their
own 'confines'? And what about Jaques' grief and accusation that
the Duke, like the Duke's younger brother, is also taking what does not
belong to him? The 12 lines blur the traditional distinction that
posits that the natural world-the Forest of Arden-is better and purer
than the artificial world of the court, which is rife with betrayal and
irrational orders of exile. Shakespeare borrowed
ideas from the Robin Hood literature that dates back several centuries
before As You Like It, and that literary tradition allows for no
blurring. The men in Sherwood Forest are an honest, affectionate, loyal
and caring group of men and their families. The Robin Hood tradition
makes the Forest almost Edenic, a paradise without strife. When opposed
to the world of the court, Sherwood Forest is an alternative reality.
There is no conscious blurring, but Shakespeare seems to have
understood the necessity for ambiguity when invoking the Arcadian ideal.
That blurring runs like a long line of gold ore throughout the play.
The most loyal and disloyal acts in the play occur at court: the
abiding friendship between Celia and Rosalind was engendered and
nurtured at court; the younger Duke usurped his older brother's power
at court, spewed hatred and venom at Rosalind and Orlando and banished
both. Similarly, for the sake of the court, Orlando's own brother
Oliver betrays him in a move that shocks even the venomous, usurping
Duke, who calls Oliver a 'villain.'
On the other hand, the world outside the court is filled with
absurdity. Shakespeare parodies pastoral literary conventions in the
bumpkinish persons of shepherds and shepherdesses and a vicar. However,
one of those shepherds, Corin, matches wits with the wittiest of
courtiers, Touchstone. In like regard, the shepherd Silvius manages to
word his wooing far more poetically than Orlando, who infuses his
poetry with literary learnedness that lacks both wit and urbanity.
As You Like It makes plain that we cannot take the traditional
dichotomy between court and country at face value. Nor may we take
traditional gender roles as static. When Rosalind becomes a man, she
loses none of her womanly attributes and is loved in a masculine
friendship with Orlando while being pursued by Phebe for attributes
surprising in a man: his reds lips and cheeks, for example.
Perhaps, Rosalind explains the blurring of all these categories as an element of time:
Men are April when they woo, December when they wed; maids
are May when they are maids, but the sky changes
when they are wives.
Change is a function of time. When Jaques gives his seven stages of man
speech, Shakespeare undermines any full and serious acceptance of the
speech in just the way he undermines the Duke's sweetness of
adversity. Jaques claims that "one man in his time plays many parts."
He enumerates those parts: the 'mewling' and 'puking' infant; the
'whining schoolboy'; the lover 'with a woeful ballad'; the soldier,
'quick in quarrel'; the magistrate, 'fat,' 'severe' and 'formal'; then
the old man; and finally the elderly child "sans teeth, sans eyes, sans
taste, sans every thing."
The center of Jaques speech is the constant self-interestedness of a
person in each of the stages. But the speech is given in the context of
Orlando saving his servant from starvation, Orlando not eating anything
until his servant is fed first—this 80-year-old servant who gave the
young Orlando his life's savings.
Shakespeare undermines Jaques' stages even though the play also shows
how much they may be taken as true. Infants do mewl; schoolboys whine.
But they cannot be reduced to a single attribute; nor can the virtues
of country life simply offset the rigors of country life. The same may
be said for the court. We must take each way of life as we like it.
English Dept., University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Orlando………………………………….. Robert Babcock
Duke Senior…………………………….. John Baumeister
Touchstone……………………………… Clark Bender
Audrey…………………………………... Lisa Cantwell
Rosalind…………………… …………... Ellen Cribbs
Adam/Hymen...………………………... Allen Davis
Phebe…………………………………... Annie Dernbach
Amiens……….…………………………. Tim Duggan
Oliver...…………………………………. Keith Harkleroad
Celia…………………………………….. Jill Matel
Attendant to Duke Frederick.…………. Jenna Portenlanger
Duke Frederick…………………………. John Portenlanger
Le Beau /Corin..……………………..…. Rand Ringgenberg
Charles/Jaques/ William………………. Brian Rogers
Jaques…………………………………... Steve Ruppel
Silvius………………………………….... Patryk Szwankowski
Attendant to Duke Senior……………... Luis Tubers
Director……………………..………………….. Anna Antaramian
Stage Manager……………………………....... Caitlin Varpness
Assistant Stage Manager…………………….. Monica Clark
Assistant Director……………………………… Sara Carranza
Scenic / Costume Designer……………...…... Jessica Kuehnau
Light Designer……………………….…....…... John Rodriguez
Technical Director……………………………… Alex Useted
Box Office Manager……………………………. Donna Duraj
Theatre Bookkeeper…………………………… Joanne Cartalino
Theatre Manager……………………………….. Alexandra Wyrazik
Original Music………………………………….. Tim Duggan
Light Board Operator……...……………..……. Sabrine Muhlbeier
Running Crew………………………………….. Patrice Agnant Twila York
Set Construction…….………………...………..Javier Chavez, Jesus Frutos, Jimmy Haritos,
Drazenka Mrkajic, Saba Mukhi, Yesenia Ortega, Lillie Prince, Antonio Tovar
(Orlando) is thrilled to be performing again with the Stage Centre
Theatre. Last seen at Stage Center as the bumbling and incompetent
Detective Fix in November 2010's Around The World in 80 Days, Robert is
excited to be back again with such a wonderful cast and crew. He wants
everyone to know that it is a huge stretch for his acting abilities to
play a young, handsome, strapping youth like Orlando in this show.
Favorite past credits include MacBeth, The Laramie Project, The Women
of Lockerbie, and Othello. A big thanks to all the friends and family
for their continued love and support.
(Duke Senior) is very excited to be performing in his second production
with the Stage Center Theater. His first performance was as Jensen in
My Sister Eileen. It was there that he made many friends and grew very
fond of working (if that is what you call it) with Anna. This
production has proven to be exactly the same and he is very excited to
be with such a wonderful cast. He would like to thank his amazing
family (Mary, Griffin, Audrey, and Grace) for their love and support.
They have allowed him to grow in many ways by the generous giving of
THEIR time. As always, he would like to thank his daughter Grace
for getting him to jump in with both feet. John's mother Ruth Ann
Baumeister passed away just as this production began. Because she so
loved any and all theater he would like to dedicate his performances to
her. As many knew her here, she will be with us sitting in the third
(Touchstone) is excited to be back at the Stage Center Theatre taking
direction from the delightful Anna Antaramian. Prior Stage Center roles
include Sandy in Hay Fever, Mr. Sherwood in My Sister Eileen and
Stryver in A Tale of Two Cities. Clark also played veSIwIQ (Fezziwig)
in last year’s Chicago premiere of Commedia Beauregard’s A Klingon
Christmas Carol told in the Klingon language (!). Clark thanks the
wonderful cast and crew for their inspiration and dedication; friends
and family – especially B & L – for encouragement and support; and
most of all his beloved wife Kim who makes it all possible by sharing
him with his theater family
(Audrey) is dizzy with excitement about having the privilege to work
with this amazing cast and crew. She is currently a theatre instructor
and director here at NEIU, where she received her Master’s degree in
Communication, Media and Theatre. Recent acting credits include Myra in
Hay Fever, Mrs. Sowerberry in Oliver, Rita in Lucky
Stiff, Titiana in A Midsummer Night’s
Dream, Miss Framer in Lettice and Lovage, and Miss Lynch in Grease.
Thanks and thanks and thanks again to the exquisite Anna, to sweet
Jessica and to John, my Tony. And, as always, to Monkey and B … I like
it like you
(Rosalind) is ecstatic to be working with the Stage Center again after
performing the role of Judith Bliss in Hay Fever last summer. Ellen has
recently performed in Blithe Spirit with First Folio Theatre and A
Klingon Christmas Carol with Commedia Beauregard Theatre. She is also
an ensemble member with Imagination Theater and the Director of
Education for the Shakespeare All-Stars, an educational outreach
program that provides Shakespeare's works to local schools. Thank you
to Anna and the cast for a fantastic run, and to Charles and her family
for all their love and support.
(Adam/Hymen) graduated with a Master's degree in Communication from
Northeastern Illinois University. He has appeared in numerous
productions here at the Stage Center Theatre, as well as working with
the Red Orchid Theatre, August Ensemble, Fourth Wall, Marquee Theatre
Company, and Thymely Theatre. Some of his favorite roles were Dr.
Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace, Gately in Pvt. Wars, and Dogberry in
Much Ado About Nothing. Allen would like to take this time to thank
everyone for their support and understanding. Enjoy the show.
(Phebe) is excited to be appearing on stage for the first time at Stage
Center Theatre, after stage managing Lucky Stiff and
Vaudeville America! Annie recently completed the Teacher Certification
Program at NEIU. After teaching Shakespeare during student teaching,
she is very excited to be performing in one of his plays. Annie would
like to thank her friends and family for their support, Lisa for the
rides, Anna for the opportunity, and her boss for
being flexible once again.
(Amiens) is an assistant professor in the department of Educational
Inquiry and Curriculum Studies at NEIU, where he facilitates the
Secondary Education Program and teaches English education courses. He
is the former director of education and outreach at the Nebraska
Shakespeare Festival, and over the past two years, he has conducted
several teacher workshops for the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. As
a musician, Tim has recorded several CDs, including two collections
primarily devoted to Shakespeare music. He is thrilled to be making his
Stage Center debut.
(Oliver) is in graduate school studying linguistics here at NEIU. He
has recently been bitten by the acting bug and is loving it. He was
last seen in Stage Center Theatre’s Around the World in 80 Days last
fall and played the jester Truffaldino in this spring’s Children’s
Theatre Workshop production of The Love For Three Oranges.
(Celia) is excited to be returning to the NEIU summer stage for her 3rd
time and very excited to be trying out Shakespeare for her very 1st
time. A native of Milwaukee, she studied acting and dance at
Barat College in Lake Forest and performs around Milwaukee and the
Chicagoland area with various groups. Favorite roles include Nancy in
Oliver, Roxy in Chicago, and Holly in Wedding Singer. Thank you to Anna
for allowing her to flex her Shakespeare skills, a very special thank
you to Ellen for helping her through the language with "the great heap
of her knowledge!", and to the cast and crew for all their hard work.
(Duke Frederick’s Servant) is an art major and music minor in her
fourth year as a student at NEIU. She has an interest in acting, and
has been taking theatre classes for the past two years. She was last
seen at the Stage Center Theatre’s Children’s Theatre Workshop
performance of The Love for Three Oranges and the main stage production
of Bleacher Bums.
|John Portenlanger (Duke
Frederick) is a lifelong north-side Chicagoan. He received his BA in
1967 from an institution known to historians as Northeastern Illinois
State College and his MA in Geography in 1973 from NEIU. After a career
teaching at Chicago Public Schools, John retired in 2009 and returned
to NEIU to begin taking courses “just for fun.” John wishes to thank
Jenna for inspiring him with the idea that theatre classes can be fun
and Rodney, Dan, and Chris for confirming that idea, and Anna for
having faith in his ability.
(Le Beau/Corin)is making his Shakespearean debut with this production.
However, he has been seen recently at the Stage Center Theatre in
Emma’s Child and Dead Man’s Cell Phone. Rand is a Communication, Media,
and Theatre major here at NEIU and will be graduating in December. He
is looking forward to his final semester this fall when he takes a
break from acting and assumes the role of playwright, as two of his one
act plays, O Come All Ye Faithful and The Gedanken Experiment, will be
presented in the Studio Theatre in October.
(Charles/William/Jaques) is genuinely excited to be making his debut at
the Stage Center Theatre. He is currently an English major here at
Northeastern Illinois University. Brian would like to express his
gratitude to Anna Antaramian, a most estimable teacher and director.
Brian wishes only the best for the cast and crew in their future
endeavors. He would also like to thank his professors for their
dedication and encouragement. Lastly, Brian would like to exclaim
his love and thanks to his family and friends, especially to his
wonderful girlfriend for her help and support.
(Jaques) is very excited to be returning to the Stage Center Theatre
where he last appeared in Tania Richards’ Selecting Memory. Other stage
credits include: Vincent Trumans’ The Observatory (A Viable Theatre
Co.), Marring Terry (Nightingale Group), and The Straightenerouter
(Rev. Theatre Co.). Steve can be seen in the upcoming Independent
film “The Mockingbird” written & directed by Rick Gawel which
premiers in Chicago later this summer.
(Silvius) is very excited to be performing in As You Like It and
working with proficient and talented actors going into his second year
at Northeastern Illinois University. He has performed for two
Children's Theatre Workshop classes (The Wolf and its Shadows, The Love
For Three Oranges) while attending school. Majoring in Communications,
Media, and Theatre, Patryk hopes to one day be a screenwriter or a
playwright. He hopes to bring an added element to an already stunning
cast. Thanks to all my friends and family for your support!
(Duke Senior’s servant) is new to NEIU but not new to the stage. He is
excited to have his first experience at NEIU’s Stage Center Theatre.
Artistic Staff Profiles______________
Anna Antaramian (Director) has been a member of NEIU’s
theatre family for the past twenty-one years. She has been the Managing
/Artistic Director of the Stage Center Theatre, Thymely Theatre, the
Summer Theatre and is a past president of the Illinois Theatre
Association. She holds an M.F.A. from New York University and has
worked in various theatrical venues across the country, the most recent
being the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. Special thanks to
H-S-A-N-T and, as always, Mr. McGuire.
Jessica Kuehnau (Set and Costume Designer) is pleased to be
designing her fourth season for the Stage Center Theatre. Since
completing her M.F.A. in Scenic and Costume Design at Northwestern
University, Ms. Kuehnau has been designing sets and costumes for such
notable theatres as Pegasus Players, Circle Theatre, Griffin, Lifeline
Theatre, MPAACT, Adventure Stage Chicago, Metropolis Performing Art
Center and Backstage Theatre. She is also the resident set
designer at North Park University and a founding ensemble member of
Adventure Stage Center Chicago.
John Rodriguez (Lighting Designer) joined the theatre
faculty at NEIU eight years ago and has been teaching courses in
technical theatre as well as working as a designer on Stage Center
Theatre productions. Most recent designs include Dead Man’s Cell
Phone, Around the World in 80 Days, Emma’s Child, Bleacher Bums as well
as Summer Theatre’s productions of My Sister Eileen and Hay Fever.
Alex Useted (Technical Director) is glad to be back for his
third summer with The Stage Center Theatre. Alex is a freelance
technical director and scenic carpenter, and most recently completed
technical direction of The Original Grease with American Theater
Company. He also works with Crosstown Scenic, where he has contributed
to projects for companies throughout the Chicago area, including Drury
Lane Oakbrook, The Second City, Writers’ Theatre, and many others.
Sara Carranza (Assistant Director) is a recent graduate from
Dominican University and is honored to be a part of the Stage Center
Theater production of As You Like It. Most recently she was seen as
Hattie in Dominican University’s production of The Women of
Lockerbie and assistant stage managed for 16th Street Theater's
production of Our Dad is in Atlantis. She will stage manage 16th Street
Theater's production of Rebecca Gilman's The Crowd You're In With.
Caitlin (CC) Varpness (Stage Manager) is excited to be stage
managing once again at the Stage Center. She last stage managed for
Bleacher Bums but has been the Costume Guru for Stage Center shows such
as Around The World in 80 Days, Tale of Two Cities and Lucky Stiff. She
hails from Minnesota where she rocked an 8th grade performance of Annie
as Miss Hannigan. She would like to thank Monica for being an amazing
and patient Assistant, the lively cast, her run crew and last but not
least Anna Antaramian for her laughter.
Monica Clark (Assistant Stage Manager) is a first-time
Assistant Stage Manager for Summer Theater. She also was the Business
Manager for Northeastern Illinois University Children’s Theatre
production of The Love for Three Oranges (Spring 2011) and The Wolf and
its Shadows (Fall 2010). Monica would like to thank Anna, Lisa, and
Caitlin for their guidance during this production. She would also like
to thank her family and friends for their unwavering support!