CSU Theatre Stages Classic Shakespeare Comedy

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Mistaken identity, four marriages and a hilarious cast of characters are the backdrop for As You Like It, a Columbus State University theatre production Thursday-Sunday, April 7-10, at CSU Theatre on the Park’s mainstage. 

The Shakespeare comedy follows the conventions of romantic love, which are a common storyline in many of the bard’s plays. The characters’ search for romantic love mixes with a view into the cruelties and corruption of court life and the political struggle that drives the play.

The story follows its heroine, Rosalind (Hanna Carrie), as she flees persecution in her uncle's court, accompanied by her cousin Celia (Janine DeMichele) and Touchstone (Chase Anderson), the court jester, to find safety and eventually love in the Forest of Arden.

“Shakespeare’s understanding and dimensionality of characters is quite amazing,” said visiting director Jeff Watkins, from Atlanta’s New American Shakespeare Tavern. “The characters are so in-depth and enjoyable and, because of this, I gave the actors permission to use themselves and their personalities to create the story and the characters.”

Watkins is artistic director for the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, the only American company to have performed all 39 of Shakespeare’s plays.

“As director, I am an editor and a gardener, so I wanted to be able to doctor it a little and then let them do their own thing,” said Watkins. “The process has been about getting the students to live in the play. We had to get on the same page as people first.”

Watkins said he practices a “doctrine of original practice,” which approaches a play the way it was originally staged, leaving a modern audience to experience the play in a manner consistent with its creator's original intent.

“The moment in which acting happens is when it is truthful and unique to the text. It’s a living, breathing moment of truth,” said Watkins. “The hard work of theatre doesn’t happen in a rehearsal hall, it happens with the audience and students have picked things up so well.

Show times for As You Like It are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Admission for adults is $17; $15 for seniors, children, active military and CSU alumni; and free for CSU faculty and staff (limit two) and students (limit one). Contact the box office at 706-507-8444.