Theater Review: KCST’s As You Like It
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog’s resident theater expert Michael Molina managed to weave his way through the large, metal, bleacher-like sets to review KCST’s As You Like It, and was kind enough to send us his review.
The King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe’s performance of “As You Like It” brings laughter and general amusement despite rain clouds, graduation bleachers, and a three-hour performance. While Shakespeare seems to be at it again with his “Oh, shit, he doesn’t know that’s not her even though it is” and the typical “Why did that guy do that? Now he’s ruined everything!”, the members of the troupe bring jovial glee to this complicated comedy of silly proportions. Although this piece of student theater is not the most groundbreaking interpretation or presentation of Shakespeare, the profound talent of the cast and the mostly insightful direction of Priyanka Choksi creates a general mood of merriment that can be seen for two more nights outside near the steps.
The play begins with low energy and stagnant blocking, but it’s immediately jump-started once Kris Wiener and a wrestling ring of Christmas lights ascend upon Low Steps. Throughout the play Kris does a fantastic job of moving the show along with a carefree, cocksure nature. And the Christmas lights foreshadow the imaginative elements of what’s to come.
Loaded with melodramatic reenactments, the hunting of forest beasts, and the general insanity of Jeff Julian, the directing is most original when “Shills” or other cast members come on to recreate the subtle extravagance of Shakespeare’s prose. Throughout the story of true love escaping an oppressive, mustachioed duke in order to find itself in the disguises of another (a plot line thankfully simplified by Shaina Rubin’s cartoon in the program), mimed engagements of the text allow the audience to feel a little smarter.
Kris is not the only stand-out performance in the show. Austin Mitchell brings painful humor into a depressing and heartbreaking role while Chas Carey gloriously saunters about in his interpretation of the Shakespearean fool. Breanne Lucy, playing Celia, is a talent to be anticipated and Jeff Brown’s Orlando will make any girl in the audience swoon (incidentally, a Shill handed me a letter that read “Call all for a good time. I’ll be there. Love, Jeff “Why am i so hot” Brown). A lot could be said about the performers, as this is a show where many cast members will certainly be somebody’s favorite.
At three-hours long, however, the audience will begin to question the liberties that could have been taken in the interpretation of this play. Scenes that could have been thinned occasionally dragged with unmotivated blocking and winding dialogue. While it was fun to move around campus and see the seldom used lawns spring to life, the director needs to consider that the audience is standing and walking for a very long time. Also, perhaps next time the Shills can be used more effectively if their painted faces acted as a color motif and guidance for the characters and scenes taking place. These issues, however, should not deter you from seeing this show.
Beware the Shills and bring an umbrella. If you can muster up the strength to stand for three hours and simultaneously digest the fast-paced plot, this is certainly a King’s Crown performance not to be missed. The troupe seems to be having a lot of fun with it and the audience members who stayed to the end could hardly refrain from yelling cheers of happiness and camaraderie when everything ended as it should.