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All the county’s a stage

Kimberly Nicoletti

KEYSTONE – If the sound of Shakespeare brings back nightmares of trudging through thick, arcane poetry and nodding off in English class, “As You Like It” presents Shakespeare, well, as you like it – in a fun, accessible manner.

“A lot of people are intimidated by Shakespeare’s language, but there’s a lot of physical comedy, and that’s going to relate to everybody,” said Kelly Renoux, who plays heroine Rosalind.

“If you’re intimidated by Shakespeare, you need to go, because even if you don’t understand everything, by just watching the characters and the mannerisms and what they’re doing on stage, you’ll understand the play,” said Randy Aschenbrenner, who plays Touchstone, the court jester. “It’s pretty easy to follow.”

“As You Like It” is a light comedy infused with wit and romance. As it was in an Elizabethan court, the jester adds levity to the performance.

“I am supposed to bring total idiocy to the play and some comedy relief,” Aschenbrenner said. “(The court jester) is a very intelligent person, and the way that he reacts to everyday life being in the court is he makes a joke out of everything. When life gets too much for him, he will open his mouth and make fun of it.”

“There’s a lot of tit-for-tat in the lines,” said Pappy Lowe, who plays Adam, a decrepit old man. “They just play off each other. There’s a good romance going on and good feuding going on between the older brother and younger brother.”

Director Jeremy Cole has updated Shakespeare, tossing the tights in favor of modern costumes laced with an Elizabethan twist. He has also added song, wrestling and jest.

“The goofball characters are broad and very cartoonic,” Cole said.

“Jeremy’s made it quite silly and fun,” said Jacqueline Lies, who plays three separate roles: LaBeau, Lord 2 and Hymen.

The play features the largest cast of the summer, with nearly 20 actors, staying true to one of its most popular quotes:

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”

The Backstage Theatre will perform “As You Like It” at 7:30 p.m. today and Sunday and again on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3 at the Quaking Aspen Amphitheatre at River Run in Keystone. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children ages 12 and under. For reservations, call (970) 453-0199.

The Backstage Theatre is currently looking for a venue in Breckenridge, because as Shakespeare queried in “As You Like It,” “Can one desire too much of a good thing?” (Act IV, Scene I). Look in the Summit Daily for updates, or call (970) 453-0199.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.

As You Like It

– When: 7:30 p.m. today and Sunday

– Where: Quaking Aspen Amphitheatre, Keystone


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