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As You Like It

October 6

November 21, 2021

CST's Courtyard Theater

by William Shakespeare
adapted & directed by Daryl Cloran
conceived by Daryl Cloran and the
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

A Note from the Director

As You Like It is Shakespeare’s most lyrical play, its script filled with song—which makes it a perfect fit with the music of The Beatles. The story of the young lovers in As You Like It is so easy to connect to The Beatles’ songs. The Beatles were a group of naïve, hopeful guys, singing songs at the beginning like “I Want to Hold Your Hand”; then, much like the characters’ own journeys of discovery, their music became progressively more political and philosophical. Each song seems to lift the story of As You Like It and moves the characters along.

Leaving the life of the court behind for the forest to “get back to nature” makes the ‘60s work perfectly for this story. In the court—an urban setting of wealth and affluence—we start in a “mod” look; and in the forest we see hippies in their flowing robes. We looked at archetypes from the period. Thinking about Rosalind, we talked about Twiggy and the androgyny of the ‘60s. We had fun imagining Touchstone as a combination of Austin Powers and Elton John, and Jaques has an Andy Warhol feel.

It was also in the ‘60s that professional wrestling and the WWE as we know it really started. As the audience enters the theater, there’s this big wrestling match underway—such a great way to welcome people into the storytelling. In the forest, the band is always at the heart of it. They’re onstage the whole time, and the old VW van becomes their hangout spot.

As You Like It is about love in its many different forms: the romantic love of the different couples, but also the love of family, between the cousins and Duke Senior and his daughter, the love between Adam and Orlando—and that bond between people who take great risks and go on adventures with each other. We finish with everybody singing “All You Need Is Love.” If we can send the audience out of the theater with a song in their hearts and a belief in our shared humanity, then we have done our job. n 

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