As You Like It – Actors Blog #1

Hello and welcome to the AFTLS As You Like It 2014 blog!

I’m writing this somewhere above the Atlantic, two and a half movies into our flight. I can’t get in to Elysium somehow, mainly because I can’t hear it very well above the engines (stop mumbling Matt Damon). There are now 3 hours 15 min left until we land in Chicago and commence our 11 weeks State-side. We’ve all been warned (a lot) about the freezing weather, so last night was spent packing and re-packing to try and get enough winter clothes into my suitcase without going over the weight limit. I tried to explain this to Mike (a Banker from Chicago) who is sitting next to me on the plane…

“I couldn’t decide how many jumpers to bring” I said. He had no idea what I was referring to and later confessed that he suspected I might be referring to under-wear (so much for British reserve!). I set him right. Jumpers…sweaters…for the record I have packed 4.

View of Greenland out of plane window

Greenland is white…and so is Chicago, South Bend and the rest of the US.

“Let’s away and get our jewels and wealth together” says Celia at the start of her and Rosalind’s journey to Arden. Though later Touchstone says she has ‘no money in her purse’. I’m just mulling these lines over now as I think about packing (!). Does she just take some gold jewellery to the forest I wonder, not any actual currency that will enable her to pay for things?

“I pray you, one of you question yond man, if he for gold will give us any food” she says in Act 2, nearly faint with hunger. Those things that are precious in the court don’t work so well as currency in the forest when she just needs food to live on. But of course she learns on the way. She escapes her father’s ‘rough and envious disposition, buys a sheepcote and defines herself on her own terms.

All the characters that journey to Arden a changed by it. For me, As You Like It is a play about identity and transformation. The forest becomes a sort of blank canvas in which characters re-imagine themselves.

While none of the cast are fleeing tyrannical Dukes, fathers, uncles or brothers (to my knowledge!) we are certainly on a journey; both literally, as we tour the USA, but also metaphorically, with the play itself. When we stated rehearsals on the 30th December we had a blank canvas on which our play has slowly emerged. To a certain extent, this will be true at each performance too. In a play where philosophy and ideas are as important as plot and characters are disguised and transformed, the language becomes all the more integral to the evolving of story.
But that’s enough on philosophy for now…on to a bit of trivia. Can you match the cast member to the essential travel item I wonder…?
Cast of As You Like It essential travel items:
– A sewing kit
– An Ipad
– A bottle of Jameson’s Irish Whisky
– A box of English tea
– A pair of pajamas

(Aaron Update: For those of you wondering, the London actors arrived safely on campus, albeit vortexed. Their first preview went well, and we’re excited to see the first public performance on Wednesday, Feb. 5.)