Produced by: Ohio University, April 2014
Directed by: Shelley Delaney
Scenic Design: C. David Russell
Lighting Design: Felicia Hall
Costume Design: Renee Garcia
Sound Design: Dan Baker
Music Direction: Dan Dennis
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.