Nature abounds in ĎAs You Like Ití setting
By BONNIE WELLS, Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 19, 2001 -- (HADLEY) - The perfidy of the nobility and the innocence of young lovers mark Hampshire Shakespeare Company's season opener tomorrow under the stars at the Hartsbrook School in Hadley.
"As You Like It," Shakespeare's retelling of a pastoral tale that some sources trace all the way back to Chaucer, features the first appearance of Shakespeare's court clown. The witty and antic Touchstone is thought to be the forerunner of "Twelfth Night's" Feste and "King Lear's" fool.
And according to Sarah Wilson, a producer, director and actor with the company, the young lover Rosalind is the most substantial female character in all Shakespeare. " 'As You Like It' is the Shakespeare chick flick," she says.
The comedy that includes the familiar line "All the world's a stage / and all the men and women merely players," lifts off when four young urbanites escape to the forest of Arden, and there become transformed by nature, love and the simple wisdom of country folks.
Wilson says it's a terrific show to inaugurate the company's permanent, summer performance home at the Hartsbrook School, with its peaceful country setting and sweeping views of the Holyoke Range.
Under Andrew Lichtenberg's direction, the play is set appropriately in the tie-dyed, back-to-nature 1960s, with an original score by Drew Lichtenberg.
The young lovers are played by Amherst Regional Middle School teacher Alan Dallmann; Paco Tolson, whose acting credits include musicals at Amherst Regional High School, Brown University and a prestigious internship at the Williamstown Theater Festival; Elaine Qualter, a staff member of New WORLD Theater and last seen in "The Misanthrope" at UMass last fall; and Sandra Blaney of Boston.
Members of the company's Young Company perform as musicians and chorus during the June 20 to July 8 run, after which they'll perform their own version on the weekend of July 13.
The season continues with HSC's first run at "Othello," a tragedy that treats issues of power and racism, from July 18 to Aug. 5, with Wilson directing.
Aaron Crutchfield of Boston, will play Othello, backed by HSC veterans Walter Carroll, Bill Stewart and Christine Stevens.
Tickets for "As You Like It," to be performed outdoors at the Hartsbrook School, 193 Bay Road in Hadley, are $12, or $9 students and seniors, $6 young people under age 18. Group rates are available. For more information contact the company at www.hampshireshakespeare.org or call 548-8118.