Perspectives: 5 things we learned about 'As You Like It'

by John Moore | Oct 02, 2015

Perspectives is a series of free panel conversations moderated by DCPA Theatre Company Literary Manager Douglas Langworthy. They take place from 6 p.m. to 6:45 on the evening of each production's first preview performance. The next Perspectives will be held Oct. 9 (Tribes) in the Conservatory Theatre. No reservations necessary.

Here’s some of what we learned from Langworthy’s conversation with cast and crew of As You Like It, the story of a new love that becomes threatened when the budding lovers are banished and Rosalind is forced to disguise herself as a young man:

1 Rosalind is being played in Denver by Carolyn Holding. Photo credit: Adams Visual Communications.When Rosalind goes undercover as a man, you might wonder why the lovely actor playing her (Carolyn Holding) doesn't, you know, look more like a man. Costume Designer Denitsa Bliznakova says the answer is simple: Because she’s not. “The audience knows that this character is in disguise. So I didn't put too much pressure on myself to make her look like a man. I felt like we only had to suggest it. I think we succeeded in creating a look that is believable but yet … I still want her to be a woman.” (Photo: Carolyn Holding as Rosalind in 'As You Like It.' Photo Credit: Adams Visual Communications)  

Did 2you know As You Like It has more songs in it than any other Shakespeare play? The words are all Shakespeare’s, but it was director Kent Thompson and composer Gary Composer Gary Grundei, As You Like ItGrundei’s decision to create original music for this production. Expect to hear violin, cello and guitar to bridge the play's two worlds of the stuffy court and the free-love forest. “The incidental music and the accompaniment for one song and one dance are recorded,” said Grundei (pictured at right), "but the rest of the music is performed live.” Cast member M. Scott McLean plays guitar throughout, and the three young boys who play pages “carry a few other songs,” Grundei said.

No Sh3akespeare comedy would be complete without a clown, but Touchstone is different from all others. “He’s not the singing clown that you find in Feste (Twelfth Night), he’s not the philosopher that you find in King Lear's unnamed Fool and he's not the bumbling idiot that you have in Dromio (Comedy of Errors)," said Matt Zambrano, the actor who plays him. “Touchstone is somewhere along that spectrum." Touchstone is an intellectual fool, which makes him somewhat threatening. Zambrano calls him dexterous. J Paul Boehmer. Photo Credit: Adams Visual Communications. “It has been a real fun challenge for me because Shakespeare’s fools are always smarter than their masters," Zambrano said, "and they get to have a relationship with the audience where they act as a mirror, in a way.”  

In ev4ery courting scene between lovers Rosalind and Orlando ... there's Celia, Rosalind’s best friend. And she basically just sits there and does not say anything. Why? Theorizes Maren Bush, who plays Celia: "Personally, I think the reason is because Celia is pretty much anti-love and anti-relationship at the beginning of the play, and I think Shakespeare puts Celia in these scenes to observe and learn," she said. "I don't think she’s ready to fall in love at the beginning of the play like Rosalind and Orlando are. It takes her the course of the play for her to open up, and luckily she does - which I am glad about."

(Photo above right: Actor J. Paul Boehmer in the DCPA's 'As You Like It.' Photo Credit: Adams Visual Communications.)

Cast5mates Matt Zambrano (Touchstone) and Maurice Jones (Orlando) are not only graduates of the Denver Center's former graduate-degree program (The National Theatre Conservatory), they were classmates in the final graduating class of 2012.

Maurice Jones in the National Theatre Conservatory's 'Farenheit 451'Maurice Jones in the National Theatre Conservatory's 'Farenheit 451.'



  ONE MORE, IF YOU LIKE
  • Zambrano is an accomplished comic actor who graduated from Wheat Ridge High School and the University of Colorado. He was asked how one actually becomes an accomplished comic actor. "Take an improv class,” he said. “You will learn more about yourself as a performer doing improv than in anything else because it's all about honestly reacting in the moment. And as we all know, truth is comedy.” Zambrano started working on his improv skills in 2004 at the Impulse Theatre, which was housed beneath the downtown Wynkoop Brewery. “It really helped me get to a place of letting go and just living in the moment, because that’s where comedy lies,” he said. “If you try to force something because you have already decided that it’s funny, I can tell you, it won't be.”



'Meet the Cast' profiles (more to come):
J. Paul Boehmer, the Dukes
Maurice Jones, Orlando
Geoffrey Kent, Actor, Assistant Director and Fight Director
Emily Kron, Phoebe
Nick LaMedica, Sylvius
Matt Zambrano, Touchstone


As You Like It: Ticket information

  • Performances through Nov. 1
  • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
  • Space Theatre
  • 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
  • TTY: 303-893-9582
  • Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
  • Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at Denvercenter.org.

  • Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the only authorized online ticket provider for the Denver engagement of 'As You Like It.'


    Previous NewsCenter coverage of As You Like It:
    Kent Thompson and the Four Loves of As You Like It
    As You Like It opens: A woman's woman in a man's world
    As You Like It begins rehearsals: 'Literally, watch it bloom'
    Costume corner: Letting it all go in the Arden Forest
    Shakespeare's largest female role might surprise you: It's Rosalind
    Casting announced for Theatre Company's fall shows
    DCPA Theatre Company giddily going down rabbit hole in 2015-16
    Official show page

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    John Moore
    John Moore
    Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

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