"As You Like It" runs August 15-19 | 6 p.m. Keeney Center lawn 200 Main Street, Wethersfield Free admission (donations appreciated)
By Nancy Sasso Janis
Time’s Fool Company is presenting a joyous production of Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It.” The limited engagement runs through Aug. 19, with all performances beginning at an easy 6:00 p.m. on the Keeney Center Lawn on Main Street in Wethersfield.
'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players' (Act 2, Scene 7).
Producing Artistic Director Wesley Broulik directed this production with a sly eye to the sometimes bawdy parts, as well as being the fight director. Because the opening night was rained out approximately two-thirds of the way into performance, the audience got to watch Broulik direct the move inside to the Keeney Center ballroom. I enjoyed watching the artistic/technical staff pivot quickly and efficiently. Kudos to Production Assistant Julia Brzezicki, Stage Manager Shawna Martine, Assistant Stage Manager Brooke Ferguson, Wardrobe Assistant Stephanie Fish and Assistant Director/Associate Artistic Director Breauna Jurkowski for helping the show go on.
Broulik has the actors walking among the audience members before the play begins, helping patrons understand a little about Shakespeare’s play. “Throughout the play, you will be asked to bbo, to cheer, to baa like a sheep, and to sing along with us. The characters are aware of your presence, and you are an integral part of the production.”
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The creative team set the piece in 1920s and 1930s after the second industrial revolution and World War I. The characters leave the court (the city) to find themselves and a better life in the Forest of Arden, which has love notes hanging on the trees on the lawn.
There are only eight actors in this cast, but they make it seem like the cast is a huge one. Only for the final scene, a few audience members are drafted to “stand in” for the missing characters with name tags around their necks.
Jonathan Gonzalez plays the roles of Oliver and the shepherd Silvius, and had to navigate at least one quick change. Gonzalez graduated from CCSU and makes his Time’s Fool debut in his home state of Connecticut.
Malena Gordo, an actor originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina who is currently living in Connecticut, just about steals every scene in which she appears as Celia and Phoebe in her Time’s Fool debut. Whether she is simply reacting to the actions of the other characters or delivering her lines, she gives a memorable performance.
Connecticut based Katrina Guzman makes her mark in the roles of the strong wrestler Charles and then as Jaques. Last year, she played the role of Hecate and other characters in Time’s Fool’s Macbeth.
Equity actor Christopher Halladay is a delight in the role of Touchstone, the court fool. The audience loved when the fool riffed on some contemporary movies in one of his speeches. Halladay currently teaches at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Wylie McCann, a recent graduate of CT College, covers three roles in her debut with Time’s Fool. She plays Duke Frederick, Duke Senior and Audrey with aplomb.
Joslyn Eaddy Melendez of Bridgeport gives a beautiful performance as the lovely Rosalind. She was most recently seen in Capital Classic’s winter production of “Water by the Spoonful” as Yazmin Ortix and their summer production of “Much Ado About Nothing.”
Quinn Spivey, who was part of last year’s production of “Macbeth,” plays the role of Orlando with charm and liveliness. Spivey is a NYC based actor and a graduate of The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University.
What a treat it was to watch Chelsea Dee Weaver switch between the five characters that she plays. She opens the show as Hymen, and then plays the French Le Beau, Amiens, Corin and William. This talented actress from Tolland is only 24 years old and works as a Broadway Brand Ambassador in Times Square, giving information about Broadway shows. She has had the opportunity to see over 30 shows within the past year, an enviable accomplishment. Her favorite roles include four characters in Time’s Fool Company’s first production of “Romeo and Juliet.”
Weaver also served as the music director for this production. There is a bit of “Dream a Little Dream of Me” and original music by the music director with lyrics by William Shakespeare.
Shaun Anderson did a great job of designing the sound for the outdoor space.
There are sketches of the beautiful costumes designed by Samantha Barwood with a 1920-1930’s flair. I was glad that I was able to see the outfits on the performers.
An uninterrupted performance should run about 1 hour and 32 minutes.
As You Like ItAugust 15-19 | 6 p.m. Keeney Center lawn200 Main Street, Wethersfield Free admission (donations appreciated)Bring a blanket or lawn chair, a picnic, and the whole family.
Scheduled for December is Time’s Fool version of “A Christmas Carol” featuring one actor and one cellist. The season announcement for next summer is coming soon.