Sunday, July 10, 2011

As You Like It

by William Shakespeare
New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, 2000.

Orlando's older brother, Oliver, has been trying to kill him, and his newest idea is to have a wrestler take him out. But then Orlando not only wins but catches the eye of the daughter of the banished Duke, with consequences Oliver could never have foreseen.

Though I have all of Shakespeare's plays on my "life list" of books I would like to read, I only moved this one in particular up the list because I saw it performed when I was in London a couple of weeks ago. It's a very interesting experience reading a play that I have once seen performed, and it really brings home the fact that plays are meant to be seen rather than read. Overall, while I enjoyed reading the original and imagining the possibilities of alternative interpretations of lines, they're certainly lacking in the personality that the actor/actress brings to the role. Some of the lines that seem confusing reading just make more sense with actions to go with them. It was also interesting to note that while the production really showed me how bawdy some of the lines were, the notes in the play that I read were generally unhelpful in this area (which, depending on your point of view, could be a good thing). I probably wouldn't read the play again, but I would definitely watch another performance!

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