Posts Tagged 'As You Like It'

Becoming Rosalind: Moafi brings alignment of body, self to acting work

Becoming Rosalind: Moafi brings alignment of body, self to acting work

The day after opening night of Chautauqua Theater Company’s As You Like It, Sepideh Moafi, who portrays protagonist Rosalind, prepares herself for the next performance with yoga on the stage of Bratton Theater. With lights dimmed and the theater cleared, she works, breathing deeply.

It helps her clear her mind, stay open and move into her body. Moafi works out six days a week.

Moafi emanates determination. When not exercising, she runs lines or analyzes the script. Operatically trained conservatory actor Moafi functions best when focused and in tune with herself.

Savage’s set transforms, mimicking tone, time of CTC’s ‘As You Like It’

Savage’s set transforms, mimicking tone, time of CTC’s ‘As You Like It’

The trees that dapple the stage and the taxidermy that lines the walls help the 1930s-era bar dissolve into the Forest of Arden in Chautauqua Theater Company’s As You Like It.

“We wanted to create a space that had qualities of both interior and exterior. So we could — with one gesture — go from the court to the forest, but not have one disappear completely,” said set designer Lee Savage.

As You Like It, which shows at 2:15 and 8 p.m. today in Bratton Theater and runs through Aug. 17, is set in two distinct locations: a court and a forest. But the twist on the Shakespeare classic sets the entire show in the 1930s and puts the court in a bar called The Orchard.

‘As You Like It’ brings out best in fairer sex

‘As You Like It’ brings out best in fairer sex

In Shakespeare’s canon, only one woman joins the ranks of Prospero and Puck to deliver an epilogue, a fact with which Rosalind opens the play’s final speech.

As You Like It contains some of the Bard’s strongest, wittiest females, and Chautauqua Theater Company’s production, which opened Saturday night, brings out the best in the fairer sex.

The moment Rosalind (Sepideh Moafi) and Celia (a delightful Molly Bernard) take the stage — in stunning evening gowns designed by Oana Botez — they establish an engaging chemistry. The two happily navigate the play together, with an affectionate banter interrupted occasionally by the clown Touchstone (Dave Quay) who accompanies them to the Forest of Arden.

From the President: Column by Thomas M. Becker

From the President: Column by Thomas M. Becker

This time of the season has a bittersweet quality. Our schools of the fine and performing arts and some of our professional arts ensembles are performing for the last time during the upcoming week. Throughout the season we have witnessed the many gifts of these companies. In particular, we have seen the arc of development of the festival dancers, the Music School Festival Orchestra, Chautauqua Theater Company, to cite only those featured in the next few days.

Saturday evening you can enjoy Shakespeare’s As You Like It at Bratton Theater at 6 p.m. and move swiftly on to the Amphitheater for the North Carolina Dance Theatre, our resident professional dance company, accompanied by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Grant Cooper, a newly minted American citizen.

It feels somewhat seamless to think of leaving the Forest of Arden within Bratton Theater for a stroll through Bestor Plaza to the Amphitheater, having just heard that in such a place we must find “tongues in tress, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones and good in everything.”

Ellington’s custom blues and jazz paint picture of 1930s in CTC’s ‘As You Like It’

Ellington’s custom blues and jazz paint picture of 1930s in CTC’s ‘As You Like It’

Emanating from the stage of Shakespeare’s classic As You Like It will be the melodies and tunes of 1930s blues and jazz.

Though the Bard himself wrote the lyrics to five of the six songs featured in Chautauqua Theater Company’s performance, sound designer and composer Justin Ellington custom-composed all the songs for this particular production, which the cast will perform live.

He also penned the lyrics to one of the songs written for the character Rosalind, played by operatically trained cast member Sepideh Moafi.

Conservatory actors bring past experiences to lead roles in CTC’s ‘As You Like It’

Conservatory actors bring past experiences to lead roles in CTC’s ‘As You Like It’

“All the World’s a Stage

And all the Men and Women merely players;

They have their Exits and their Entrances,

And one Man in his Time plays many Parts.”

The phrase uttered by Jaques in Act 2 of William Shakespeare’s play As You Like It has become legendary.

The play explores ideas of dualities, identities and love. It previews at 8 p.m. tonight and opens at 6 p.m. Saturday in Bratton Theater. As You Like It runs through Aug. 17, and features performances from all 14 conservatory actors and two guest artist actors.

The actors in the production have, as Shakespeare’s quote suggests, taken on numerous roles throughout their years studying theater. Sepideh Moafi plays As You Like It’s protagonist Rosalind, Leicester Landon plays Orlando, and York Walker plays Silvius.

Adversity in ‘As You Like It’ connects to 1930s and now

Adversity in ‘As You Like It’ connects to 1930s and now

Dressed in 1930s garb over their daily outfits, the cast members of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It work on two pages of text for one hour during an early blocking rehearsal. Each line of dialogue is a discussion, and each movement on the stage takes repetition to perfect.

Presiding over the rehearsal process is director Jackson Gay, who, through conversations with the actors, designers and production staff, brings As You Like It to life. The third and final Chautauqua Theater Company full production previews at 8 p.m. Friday and opens at 6 p.m. Saturday in Bratton Theater.

The show runs through Aug. 17, and behind-the-scenes details will be shared at 12:15 p.m. today in Bratton Theater at the weekly CTC Brown Bag discussion.

CTC production staff ponders ‘As You Like It’ details

CTC production staff ponders ‘As You Like It’ details

“We are cutting down trees today,” said Chautauqua Theater Company technical director Jonathan Zencheck at the final production meeting for this week’s production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

As You Like It is set both in a court and in the Forest of Arden, and the production staff — 20 or so individuals who work to produce CTC’s shows — sees the forest for the trees.

The trees Zencheck and the scenic department cut down for the set — with landowners’ permission — from streets in Chautauqua County have specific requirements. Two must be climbable, they must be of a certain height and heft, some sides must be smooth so costumes won’t rip, and the props department must be able to attach leaves to them later.

Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It previews at 8 p.m. Friday and opens at 6 p.m. Saturday in Bratton Theater and runs through Aug. 17. The twist on the classic is that As You Like It will be set in the 1930s, with a bar for a court that melds into the Forest of Arden.

Chautauqua Theater Company season features lady leads

Chautauqua Theater Company season features lady leads

It’s a season of leading ladies on- and offstage for Chautauqua Theater Company.

The plays showcase strong females such as Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story and Rosalind in As You Like It. But offstage, CTC touts blond and vivacious Vivienne Benesch in her first year as the sole artistic director.

“All of the characters central to these plays are really going through a moment where their understanding of who they are within themselves and within their community is on a precipice,” Benesch said. “That is a really interesting current. Being witness to that is exciting theater.”