Forest of Arden? Forest of Arduous

qt7v4o-TMoving to Edinburgh from St Andrews last fall has brought live theatre back into my life, and hence, air back to my lungs. I’ve seen more stage performances in these first 8 weeks of 2016 than in all of 2013 & 2014. But since moving to the UK, I have benefitted massively by getting to see live theatre broadcasts to movie screens from The National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Comapny, Donmar Warehouse, and others. It’s an outstanding option for those who can’t travel to London or Stratford on a regular basis. That said, I have also been able to see two shows in person at The National, and by this July, three at Shakespeare’s Globe. I am a happy, grateful girl.

And I haven’t really written any reviews of anything I’ve seen because frankly, every review would just say “O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful and yet again wonderful.” Seriously, of the 30-plus professional productions I’ve seen since moving to Scotland, only one has been anything less than incandescantly wondrous, visceral, and human.

Until tonight.

Why is it that I’m fated to sit through every production of ‘As You Like It’ with an angry grimmace and incredulously raised eyebrow? Isn’t this Shakespeare’s ultimate pastoral romping romance? Granted, there are some melancholy clowns and wistful songs sung under tree boughs, but this is a play where a forest boasts love poems on its bark. So why am I continually sitting through productions determined to deconstruct it? I mean, I like irony and juxtaposition just as much as the next postmodern audience member, but Polly Findlay’s production for The National Theatre had me wondering if I accidentally wandered into Timon of Athens—The National’s 2012 production of Timon of Athens, to be specific. Got the modern office buidlings, technocrats in suits, and homeless people huddling amidst the detritus of civilization. Hey nonny no thanks.

Despite ‘As You Like It’ being the play that actually contains that wonderful quadruple wonderful-ed line, of the three productions I’ve seen I honestly don’t think I’ve made it through a single one in its entirety. It was relief tonight to be seeing the play broadcast to a cinema, as leaving at intermission was that much easier.

This was just going to be a Facebook post before it got too verbose. All that to say, hey “As You Like It,” where’s the love?

Posted on Thu, Feb 25th, 2016 at 10:26 pm
Filed under Anglophilia, Cultural Shifts, Scotland, theatre.

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