Last year’s production of Twelfth Night set the benchmark for which I judge all theatre against. The problem with benchmarks is that they set the highest standards that make even good plays like As You Like It seemingly mediocre in comparison.
The play follows the adventures of Rosalind (Sarah Schreiber), and would-be beau Orlando (Matt Harell), who were both exiled by the tyrannical Duke Frederick (Norman Rocha). The problem as I see it is that the main characters come as off as flat, awkward and utterly forgettable (like the entire cast of Quantum’s A Chorus Line), but minor characters come alive to bringing energy, humor and most of all life to this play. This is especially true of the scene-stealing Silvius (Ross Evans) and the hilarious courtier-fool Touchstone (Nathan Schuster).
The set of As You Like It consists of four metal scaffolds upon a plain platform base which makes the stage look cold and reminding more me of last season’s Anton in Show Biz than Twelfth Night; fortunately the second act brings some much-needed color as spring sets in on the forest. What fares better is the lighting that managed to be effective despite some technical difficulties. The sound needed some minor work, but that was overshadowed by the entertaining music and energetic dance numbers.
Bottom line: This is not a bad play, but it could have been better. What saves this play from utter mediocrity is the brilliant and uproariously funny supporting cast who serve as entertaining relief from our bland protagonists. If you like average plays then the Ring will gladly accommodate you, but keep in mind it may not be exactly As You Like It.
The Jerry Herman Ring theatre is located on campus at 1312 Miller Drive. Student tickets are $8, faculty/alumni are $16.
Jonathan Twiggar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.