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by William Shakespeare directed by Patrick Dooley

What is "As You Like It" about, after all? Rosalind says, "I have promis'd to make all this matter even." And there's a lot of talk about making things "even," about atoning for the un-eveness, the inequalities in the world of Duke Frederick. Shakespeare uses satire, parody, and the fun of pastoral comedy to ridicule unfairness in his world: the way younger sons are treated, the way genders are restricted, the way that some people grab the goodies and claim to be superior, while others live simple, laborers' lives and take a lot of crap from the self-appointed "elites," like Touchstone and the other "courtly" wits.

Surely characters like Touchstone, Jaques, Frederick, Oliver­the courtly poseurs­remind us of the disparities in Elizabethan and modern times: the differences between those who "have" and those who "do." Touchstone has such fun making jokes about the "country copulatives," we almost forget to notice how he pushes in amongst them­while patronizing them. However, even he is forced to marry his Audrey. Jaques plays the Puritan and makes the Clown "even" with his wife­at least for now.

Rosalind, of course, the transcendant actor, director, and revolutionary democrat, learns the director's god-like role, and wrestles her Orlando into honest "equality," helps Oliver accept the seeming "poverty" of Celia, and brings even-handedness to an "un-Even" world. Is it the influence of magical Arden? Or, does The Bard, actor and director extraordinaire, make the former rulers atone for their arrogance to bring about "equality" for genders, classes, and lovers?

In Arden, a boy can love a boy; a woman can teach her lover and learn about herself; rude rulers can repent; and fools be "deep-contemplative." Yet, even in Arden, we still detect a foolish Touchstone in the bush - even as he is gored by a critical Jaques. Shakespeare makes us look beyond Arden to a still greener world­as we would like it.

Daniel Bruno as Oliver & Oliver Martext
Reid Davis as Silvius & Gentleman
Beth Donohue as Rosalind
Jeff Elam as Jacques
Ryan Gowland as Orlando
Christopher Kuckenbaker as Touchstone
Greg Lucey as Adam, Hymen,
William & Lord #1
Trish Mulholland as Le Beau, Amiens & Audrey
Michelle Talgarow as Phebe & Lord
Juliet Tanner as Celia
Gene Thompson as Duke Frederick
& Duke Senior
Danny Wolohan as Charles the Wrestler,
Duke, Corin & Lord

Patrick Dooley, artistic director
Valera Coble, costume designer
Rebecca Goodberg, stage manager
Barry Horowitz, dramaturg
Kristin Fairfield, vocal training
Benjamin Lovejoy, marketing director

Special thanks to:
Sabrina Klein and the entire staff of the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts; our costume support crew: Marylyn Stanley, Katja Rivera, Katherine Rae, Chappell Holt & Daniel Bruno's mom; Charles Thompson & Kim Deal; & Paul Alvord.

Opened: Friday, September 1 at 8pm
Performed: Saturday & Sunday
Performed At: John Hinkel Park in North Berkeley and John McLaren Park in San Francisco
Closed: October 8

Katy E. Shrout for the East Bay Express Online
Chad Jones for the Oakland Tribune
Jack Tucker for the Contra Costa Times

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