In its production of “As You Like It,” Belmont’s department of theater and dance aims to show that Shakespeare is more accessible than ever.
The play — which uses physical comedy to make it easily digestible for modern audiences — opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Troutt Theater.
“I want people to come in and realize there’s a reason why we still do this. If you’re willing to hold on with us, we will show you that this stuff still works. I want it to be as accessible as possible,” said junior Dixie Currey, who plays the ditzy Audrey in the show.
Featuring everything from silly disguises to dramatic love letters, this relatable story focuses on the hilarity and chaoticness of life.
Director Nettie Kraft has chosen to style the play after Italian futurism — an art movement known for its bright colors and busy patterns — so the show doesn’t look like a typical Shakespeare production.
Belmont professor Shawn Knight, who plays Jaques, delivers an enchanting rendition of the iconic “The World’s a Stage” monologue. But senior Reilly O’Connell’s portrayal of Rosalind shows that the stage is actually hers.
After meeting Orlando — Rosalind’s love interest played by senior Alex Drinnen — Rosalind is banished into the Forest of Arden by her uncle, who is played by senior Josh Kiev.
In order to survive, Rosalind and her cousin Celia disguise themselves — Celia as Aliena, a peasant girl, and Rosalind as Ganymede, a man.
While it’s enthralling to watch all the romantic relationships unfold on stage, one of the most captivating relationships in the show is the friendship between Rosalind and Celia, played by senior Hayley Pellis.
After being banished, these women take control of their narratives, and together they do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.
At one point, Rosalind disguised as Ganymede tricks Orlando to determine whether or not he loves her.
It’s like the 17th-century version of catfishing, O’Connell said.
All shows are free for Belmont students and will count toward convocation credit. The show will run Friday through Sunday, and then again on Oct. 5 and 6. To reserve tickets, clickhere.
This article written by Bailey O’Neil. Photos by Liz Gresser.