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Steven Culp in "As You Like It"

Opening Date: September 13, 1980

Loeb Drama Center, American Repertory Theatre, Cambridge, MA



Besides being in the play as 'Courtier,' Steven Culp was the understudy
to the parts of Amiens, Oliver, Corin, William


Playwright by William Shakespeare
Directed by Andrei Belgrader



Duke Senior - Jeremy Geidt
Charles - Harry S. Murphy
Oliver - Tony Shalhoub
Orlando - Stephen Rowe
Rosalind - Cherry Jones
Courtiers - Steven Culp
- Peter Tamm
- Brady Fowler
- Felix VanDijk
- Antony Rudiè



(c) Internet Shakespeare Editions


Photo by Richard Feldman


Synopsis:

Duke Senior and later his daughter Rosalind are both unfairly banished to the Forest of Arden. Rosalind's beloved cousin Celia accompanies her. When Rosalind discovers that her lover Orlando has also been banished to the forest, she decides to disguise herself as a young man to test his love. In the end, Rosalind's autocratic uncle is transformed by the benevolence of the woods and returns all of her father's land to him while everyone celebrates the marriages of Rosalind to Orlando and Celia to Oliver.

One of Shakespeare's early plays, As You Like It (1598-1599), is a stock romantic comedy that was familiar to Elizabethan audiences as an exemplar of "Christian" comedy. Although the play does include two offstage spiritual conversions, the "Christian" designation does not refer to religion itself. Instead, it denotes the restoration and regeneration of society through the affirmation of certain Christian values such as brotherly love, marital union, tolerance for different viewpoints, and optimism about life at large.

The resolution of the dramatic problem in the warped attitudes of two evil brothers toward good brothers, and related obstacles to marriage for several couples in the play (most notably Rosalind and Orlando) are easily overcome, and a happy ending is never in doubt. On one level, the play was clearly intended by Shakespeare as a simple, diverting amusement; several scenes in As You Like It are essentially skits made up of songs and joking banter. But on a somewhat deeper level, the play provides opportunities for its main characters to discuss a host of subjects (love, aging, the natural world, and death) from their particular points of view.

At its center, As You Like It presents us with the respective worldviews of Jaques, a chronically melancholy pessimist preoccupied with the negative aspects of life, and Rosalind, the play's Christian heroine, who recognizes life's difficulties but holds fast to a positive attitude that is kind, playful, and, above all, wise. In the end, the enjoyment that we receive from the play's comedy is reinforced and validated by a humanistic Christian philosophy gently woven into the text by a benevolent Shakespeare.

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