Year of Shakespeare: As You Like It

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  1. what is fascinating is that, in the absence of English words, Shakespeare's wisdom stands out with such clarity. I saw, with fresh emphasis, the extent to which the play is about temperament: sunny souls turn hardship into a picnic; those with melancholy hearts will drag their heels forever.
  2. As You Like It tech has me almost in tears. No language barrier, just magical, child-again transportation. #G2G @The_Globe
  3. This was an imaginative, sophisticated, witty, multi-layered, superbly choreographed, sexy, sublime, visual production. It was a rehearsal of a play, a look into the lives of actors rehearsing, a touring production, a play, a play within a play acted out on and around a stage within a stage where the action on the sides was almost as important as the central action. Sounds complicated? It was - it must have been hard to rehearse. It was simple to watch.
  4. Tsuladze emphasised the ensemble nature of the action, using a small front stage space, and keeping actors on stage in the wings most of the time. It’s played almost as a play within a play, complete with stage curtain for the court scenes, before we move into the forest, where the action became distinctly Chekhovian, giving an interesting melancholic counterpoint to the elements of circus, slapstick, music (both live, acapella choruses, and recorded) and the like that spoke so embracingly.
  5. The Marjanishvili Theatre from Tbilisi, Georgia, presents a delightful As You Like It which places the concept of ‘play’ at its centre. This trope is celebrated from the very first appearances of the players as they enter the play-world – comprising a single raised platform- to set up for the show. They display a wonder at discovering a new world as they explore the stage, hide in large trunks, open others to reveal dressing room-like pods and create percussion sounds from glasses, saucepans and the like. The notion of play fills the ‘stage’ (the raised platform) but also permeates the ‘off stage’ space (still for the viewer part of the Globe stage) and the upstage spaces, behind the central platform.
  6. I have only two reservations. This is a production that faces in one direction only -- straight ahead. So anyone sitting round the sides of the audience won't get to see much. And there's very little attempt to interact with the audience. As Jaques, Nata Murvanidze conveys an exquisite sense of melancholy but she makes eye contact only with her fellow actors. For me, Jaques should be a link between the play and the audience, as Tim McMullan was in the Globe's own excellent version a few years back. No doubt this production was conceived for a completely different theatre, but the relationship with the groundlings, so important in this open-air daylight space, has to wait until the final dance and curtain call to really take off. On the other hand, the director's play-within-a-play concept fits the Globe like a glove. As a bit of a curmudgeon, I like to feel I am impervious to mere charm, but in the end I was helpless to resist it.
  7. Creating this added distance between the audience and the action was a risky move but it ultimately paid off: the non-verbal business that went on offstage may have at times distracted from the goings-on of the plot, but it also offered non-Georgian speakers an additional route into the production. In a subtle, yet tremendously well executed piece of staging from director Levan Tsuladze, the main action gradually took over more and more of the entire Globe playing space as the play progressed, until the 'offstage' actors were barely involved in proceedings. Just as the audience became lost in the play, so the players became lost in their characters.
  8. What a joyful, charming production of As You Like It. Terrific physicality & comic timing. Huge fun for a Friday afternoon @The_Globe #G2G
  9. after the difficult, dark tragedies coming out of Eastern Europe as part of the Globe to Globe Festival, with the Polish Macbeth’s onstage rape of Lady Macduff and the Belarusian onstage hanging of King Lear‘s daughter, Cordelia, it was such a relief to watch a performance that literally fluttered between spring pastels and autumnal russets
  10. I was surprised at how little of Georgia was brought into the production, just some of the music, I think. The illustration for As You Like It in the festival brochure is misleadingly a photo of a Georgian girl in traditional dress. There was no Georgian dance or movement but there was a wild array of influences from theatre and cinema, from Brecht to Turgenev to Chekov to silent comedy, and it gelled beautifully. Unusually in Globe to Globe, the actors neither jumped into the audience nor spoke directly to us to get us involved. They didn't need to. It was effortlessly involving.
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