In Shakespeare’s world, as in our own, love isn’t easy. Whether troubled with parental disapproval as in Romeo and Juliet, or just with personal insecurities and game playing as in our show this evening, lovers must overcome to be together and happy. (Of course in the Tragedies, happiness is but fleetingly achieved). People are drawn together for a wide variety of reasons, and Shakespeare understood this very well. I think we can all see ourselves and laugh at our own romantic pasts when watching his Comedies, and often we can see more clearly when they are set in an era that we know and remember.
The late 1920’s were a time of amazing change, and of a grand prosperity that teetered on the edge of collapse. Women were more free in attitude, look, and self-reliance than at any previous time in history. Urban centers were working feverously towards a “Modern Age,” while many rural areas continued with a lifestyle little changed for a hundred years--except for maybe the worldly influence of moving pictures. For many life was grand, yet the repercussions of World War I were being felt throughout Europe in the ever increasing rise of fascism.
By placing As You Like It in the Europe of 1928, I think we can better understand the differences between city and country that now rarely exist. We can better understand a regime from which people would have to run, and we can recognize people in love who don’t seem too different from our modern selves.
Thank you for coming, and I hope you enjoy your evening!
Backstage: Touchstone and Audrey
Photo: Michael Hirsch