As You Like It – C. David Russell

“Blow, blow, thou winter wind! 
Thou art not so unkind
as man’s ingratitude,”

Amiens sings in Act 2: Scene 7, and in Act 2: Scene 5, he sings:

“ Under the Greenwood tree

Who loves to lie with me,

And turn his merry note,

Unto the sweet bird’s throat,

Come hither, come hither, come hither!

Here shall he see

No enemy

But Winter and rough weather.”

“When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding

Sweet Lovers Love the spring” is sung in Act 5: scene 3.

These songs not only add to the pastoral attitude in As You Like It, but also speak of the mood of the characters and the intensity of the action on the stage.

We used these cues to help Arden come to life. Our time in the forest moved from fall to spring, from falling leaves to falling blossoms. The weather was an elemental force that compelled the characters to encounter not only the harshness of nature, but also the tempest of their emotions and inner struggles. Our production of As You Like It is well suited to the theme of Weather for this year’s Prague Quadrennial.

The forest of Arden is not a literal forest. Shakespeare used the construct of the forest as a place where magic can happen. In As You Like It, magical transformations occur; villains are converted, gender is fluid, and the journey of the play mirrors the journey of the world.

We wanted the characters and the audience to be enveloped into the world of the play. To that end, we introduced the elemental forces of nature through sound, lighting, falling leaves and blossoms, and Orlando’s love letters. The characters, transformed by the environment, encountered the natural world as a place of wonder.

The set consisted of a series of curvilinear ramps and levels that tracked the action and flow of the play, with its quicksilver transitions and overlapping scene changes. The Forum Theater was transformed from a flat level thrust stage, to an asymmetrical off-kilter, winding pathway. The spiraling set symbolized the whirlwind of the lives of the characters. The inclusion of aspects of the natural world, such as tree branches and large root bulbs, alongside expanded steel structures, illustrated a crossover space that contained aspects of multiple contexts of interior and exterior places. It was a liminal space where people met with adversity and were changed in the process.

Scenic Design for As You Like It, by William Shakespeare

 Produced by: Ohio University, April 2014

Directed by: Shelley Delaney

Scenic Design: C. David Russell

Lighting Design: Felicia Hall (submitting this show in the Student category)

Costume Design: Renee Garcia

Sound Design: Dan Baker

Music Direction: Dan Dennis