QU Theatre takes on Shakespeare

Michael Castro

Quinnipiac Theatre’s main stage production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” made its debut in Long Wharf theatre Thursday, Oct. 26. The show ran through Sunday, Oct. 29 and welcomed a warm response from audiences. In the seats were not only friends and family of the cast members, but active theatre patrons enjoying an evening of Shakespearian banter and plot twists.

“As You Like It” is the story of Rosalind, the daughter of a duke, whose twin brother banishes her into the forest, where she encounters many colorful characters. One of these characters is Orlando, the man who she falls helplessly in love with.

Performed in a 1960’s theme, the Quinnipiac theatre group adapted all costumes and music to fit the decade. The scenery used drapes hung as trees in a forest to give a general setting for most scenes. Still, most of the first act scenes were performed in front of the theatre’s blank curtain, allowing the acting and specific lighting to speak for the scene.

The music was an interesting choice in this Shakespeare production. There was a musician on stage during a good portion of the show, who acted as an extra. He would play rhythm guitar while cast members broke into song. At first this choice seemed odd; however by the end of the play the music seemed more natural and less forced. This music kept alive the 1960’s theme and really improved the overall image of the show.

In a play full of Shakespearian language, it’s difficult avoiding long drawn out scenes where the audience is lost between “thou” and “hath not’s.” Even so, the acting in the play was very well done and amounted to a great ensemble cast. The show’s stand-out performances include Quinnipiac senior Kathy Grassi and junior Ashley Wigfield.

Grassi’s animated portrayal of Rosalind brought her character to life and drove the play’s energy from beginning to end. Together, Grassi and Wigfield (Celia) sparked the audiences’ interest in the two cousins, Rosalind and Celia; the chemistry was spot on from act one. Another stand-out performer was Kevin Fitzpatrick, who played Touchstone, the wise fool. Fitzpatrick became the comic relief for the night as he stole scenes with his odd-ball, witty antics.

Together, the variety of character actors who made up this production formed a tightly-knit group that was able to flesh out the words of, arguably, one of the greatest poets of all-time. The main stage Quinnipiac theatre group did a great job handling such difficult material and continues to produce well-conceived/well-acted plays for the Long Wharf community and the Quinnipiac student body to enjoy.