Rehearsals are taking place for TheatreOCU’s last mainstage performance of the season, a portrayal of the Shakespearean comedy As You Like It.
The play was written by William Shakespeare and is considered by many to be one of his greatest comedies. It follows the story of two lovers who overcome various obstacles like exile and death threats. They retreat to a forest and must straighten out the many confusions of love before ending up together.
Stephen Wrentmore, adjunct professor of theater and director of the show, summarized As You Like It in his own words.
“Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, realizes girl can’t have boy, so dresses as boy to teach boy how to seduce girl. Then girl gets boy,” Wrentmore said.
Wrentmore directed and adapted As You Like It to fit into contemporary times.
I reapportioned gender roles in the play so that there was an equal quantity of opportunity for the actors, he said
While the show would originally run around three hours and 20 minutes, Wrentmore said he cut it down to about one hour and 40 minutes without an intermission so the play reads more like a “rom-com.” Wrentmore chose to not change the Shakespearean language.
Wrentmore said the play will be set in late ‘70s Bronx.
“The ideas of dukes and lords seems like an alien concept to America, so setting it in a street culture within the Bronx gives a sense of how hierarchy works,” he said.
Ariel Richardson, acting senior who plays “Rosalind,” said she has had fun during the rehearsal process.
“Stephen didn’t have any plans coming in,” she said. “He was just like ‘let’s all try to collaborate and just have fun and play in rehearsal each time. No expectations.’”
Wrentmore said the show is a comedy and should be fun to watch.
“Falling in love is such a big part of being human,” he said. “Watching a play that shows how silly, uncomplicated, easy and un-messy that it can be is really why we go to the theater.”
Robert Jamerson, acting senior who plays “Orlando” said he likes the challenge of making a 400-year-old language understandable to a modern audience.
“Don’t be scared when you come in,” he said. “Don’t be scared and don’t have any preconceived notions of the show. Just come in with an open heart because that’s the way we are performing it, with an open heart.”
The performances are:
– 8 p.m. April 7-9, and
– 2 p.m. matinee April 9-10.
The performances are in the Burg Theatre in Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Center.
Tickets are available for $12 at okcu.edu/tickets or by calling 405-208-5227.