California Lutheran University will present Shakespeare’s As You Like It November 7 – 17 on the Thousand Oaks campus. Performances will take place at 8:00 pm in the Black Box Studio Theatre as part of CLU’s All About the Arts Week. Director Brett Elliott (associate artistic director of The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company), sets Shakespeare’s famous comedy in the early Gilded Age America – an era that has many contemporary parallels.
Similar to today, Victorians witnessed an expanding chasm between the ultra-wealthy robber barons and the struggling middle and lower classes, with all the social and political tensions that follow. They were becoming increasingly aware of the environmental havoc that industrialization was inflicting on the natural world. And they often found themselves bewildered at the breakneck pace with which technology was reshaping their society and world.
It was a world, like that today, in which traditional values and roles were reexamined and challenged. As You Like It is one of Shakespeare’s famous cross-dressing comedies, in which female characters don male disguises in order to survive and thrive in a man’s world. CLU’s production takes the gender-bending one step further, casting women in several roles traditionally played by men. In particular, the role of the melancholy Jaques will be presented as an androgynous, world-weary figure reminiscent of the provocative female French novelist George Sand. Natasha Buran, a theatre arts major from Thousand Oaks, will play Jaques.
As You Like It also features one of Shakespeare’s premier roles for women. The largest of any of his female roles, Rosalind will be played by Kaitlin Ruby, a theatre arts and communication major from Scottsdale, Ariz., making her CLU debut. In addition, Matthew Case, a criminal justice major from Thousand Oaks will play Orlando; Kevlyn Holmes, a psychology major from Milwaukee will play Celia; and Kevin Repich, a theatre arts and communication major from Simi Valley plays Touchstone.
Black Box Studio Theatre is located in the Theatre Arts Building on the north side of Memorial Parkway near Pioneer Avenue. Admission is $10. For information, call the theatre arts department at (805) 493-3415. www.callutheran.edu/calendar/event/3086