Pick of the Day: As You Like It

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.

Thus begins one of Shakespeare's most famous monologues. If you attend this Do-It-With-Class production of this popular pastoral comedy by the Bard, which closes a two-night run at the Conexus Arts Centre tonight, be on the lookout for it in Act II. It's spoken by Jacques, who's described in the play's synopsis as a melancholy companion to Duke Senior who's been exiled from his Duchy by his devious younger brother Frederick and is now living in the Arcadian Forest of Arden. His daughter Rosalind, who had been permitted by her uncle to remain at court because she was close friends with his only child Celia, is eventually banished herself and Celia decides to flee with her.

Both girls adopt false identities (Rosalind as a young man named Ganymede, Celia as a young woman named Aliena), and in the company of the jester Touchstone they head into the forest, where they encounter the Duke and his men. Much romantic confusion and all-round general hilarity ensues, and by the end of the play no less than four different couples are wed, and the Duke has even regained his Duchy from his recalcitrant brother.

To give you a taste, here's the trailer for a HBO version of the play directed by noted Shakespeareophile Kenneth Branaugh. (YouTube)

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