As You Like It in the Outdoor Garden at Shakespeare and Company
The best of director Allyn Burrow’s energetic As You Like It at Shakespeare and Company resides in the middle of the show. The quietest of activity focused us on a vexed question: is disguise a better truth? Somehow when I see As You Like It, I am always a little disappointed when Rosalind fits everything together, as if she were ready for a good evening out. Our Rosalind, Aimee Dougherty, masterfully manipulated, lied even, to come to a better end. What I liked most in her superb performance was that little twinge of doubt, just at the end. The big question is, can deception tell the truth? In this case the answer would have to be yes, and this wonderful young actress and singer made it work. (You may also have heard her wonderful voice in the Boston Pops Leonard Bernstein concert a couple of months ago.)
Life is in itself a kind of deception. The clowns in the show (MaConnia Chesser, Gregory Boover and Ella Loudon), excellently coached, did not shirk from their own self-produced confusion, but persevered in their bumbling way, the large comic phrases being hollered out like blessings. Each character in the play, you see, is teaching herself, himself, their two methods laughter, and something very near to silence. I can imagine some might think the action overdone, but this made the stillness of Rosalind at once lonely and secure. Best of all, the Bard showed us that words have power; they can save us.