Shakespeare at Kentwood – “As You Like It”

For those who just want to get away from it all, Kentwood Players offers one of William Shakespeare’s most delightful comedies “As You Like It” from July 9 to August 14, on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm at the Westchester Playhouse located at 8301 Hindry Avenue in Westchester. The production is directed by Karintha Touton, with Jeremy Speed Schwartz as assistant director, and produced by Adam Dunberger. Featured in the cast are Lorenzo Bastien, Lauren Billingsley, Jordan Bland, Caity Engler, Martin Feldman, Drew Fitzsimmons, Marco Antonio Garcia, Rick Gates, Mark Mayes, Susie McCarthy, David Neiman, Catherine Rahm, Scot Renfro, Melodie S. Rivers, Alison Stebbins, and Meredith M. Sweeney.

“As You Like It” gives us only what we like: sibling rivalry, mistaken identities, cross dressing, an eight way wedding… while bringing us some of Shakespeare’s best written characters.

Duke Senior is banished from the city by his usurping brother. As he happily takes up residence in the Forest of Arden, Rosalind (his daughter) stays behind in the oppressive court of the new Duke. While in the city she briefly meets and falls in love with Orlando. Unfortunately, before the lovers have a chance to get to know each other, the new Duke banishes Rosalind. Off she goes, disguised as a boy, to the Forest of Arden. Along with her go her cousin Celia, Touchstone the clown, and a thoughtful optimism which allows her to see a joyful duality in everything.

The forest presents us with a strange pageant of accidental meetings and comical pairings. Within the forest we meet the famous Jaques, a melancholy wit well known for recounting that “All the World’s a Stage.” This is a suitable quip, for the forest becomes a space where each character can play out their fantasies and create their own identities.

The city, here envisioned by Karintha Touton and Jeremy Speed Schwartz, is an over-industrialized, media saturated setting. As the characters escape to Arden, they begin to transform. So too does the scenery, shifting into a fanciful space where business suits, bows and arrows, palm trees, and lionesses exist side by side. The media transforms along with the environment, going from a mass media culture to one of live music and poetry hung on trees. The songs, composed by local Indy artist Ben Jaffe, are a blend of modern folk and rock which call to the simple pleasures of the country life but with a distinctive contemporary sound.

Director Karintha Touton believes that “Theater is our Forest of Arden. We all have to exist in the clutter and stress of this modern world, but Kentwood is a place we can escape to for a time, where anything can happen, and where we can play out the better parts of ourselves. There couldn’t be a better time to bring ‘As You Like It’ to a modern audience. Don’t miss it!”

Tickets are $18.00 with a $2.00 discount for seniors, students, and servicemen. To purchase tickets, please call (310) 645-5156 during box office hours, Tuesday through Saturday from 4-7 PM. Visa, MasterCard, and Diner’s Club accepted. You may also purchase tickets online at www.kentwoodplayers.org. For group ticket sales, please contact Calia Mintzer-Wolf at (310) 837-3609.

Please join us at the Westchester Playhouse, home of the Kentwood Players, for our next meeting to learn more about our upcoming season of shows. You’ll have the opportunity to meet and get involved with our very professional and talented group of producers, directors, actors and designers as we celebrate 60 years of presenting great entertainment. Our meetings are free to the public and are held on the third Wednesday of every month at 8:00 PM. Westchester Playhouse is located two blocks west of the San Diego Freeway and two blocks north of Manchester at 8301 Hindry Avenue in Westchester, CA 90045.

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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