Hillsboro, OR – Adventure. Mistaken Identity. Romance. Rivalry. Comedy. Love.
Shakespeare’s As You Like It is one of the most beloved of all of the Bard’s comedies. Featuring a story filled with wit, love, strong female characters, saucy shepherds, and some of the most beautiful romantic language Shakespeare ever wrote, As You Like It is consistently one of the Bard’s most often performed plays – particularly in the summer!
Bag&Baggage Productions, Hillsboro’s resident professional theatre, is pleased to announce a world premiere adaptation of As You Like It in true Bag&Baggage style. Adapted and Directed by Associate Artistic Director Cassie Greer, B&B’s summer Shakespeare is a creative re-imagining of the original script combined with the rarely performed and almost completely unknown Restoration-era adaptation called Love in A Forest, by Charles Johnson. In B&B’s production, Shakespeare’s play has been “tidied up” and the romantic entanglements are made more entangled, new romances are sparked, and the focus is on the power of the communities we choose to create.
“Although As You Like It is a charming, delightful romantic comedy, a closer look at the story shows us that contemporary issues for our audiences can also be found in the play,” says Greer. “Our version of the story focuses on a group of people who have been exiled from their country and are asked to build a community together, discovering how the choices they make can create a family and a nation built on love.”
B&B’s production design team are exploring how to bring echoes of the United States’ current immigration debate and the controversies surrounding so-called “sanctuary cities” into the overall feel and style of the production. “You will see references to these critical social issues in our production designs, specifically in the sets and costumes. While our audiences enjoy all of the charm and wonder of this brilliant romantic comedy, our show will be asking them to consider what building walls – both literal and metaphorical – does to communities,” says Greer.
As You Like It or, Love In A Forest will be B&B’s first summer Shakespeare performed at their new home, The Vault Theater & Event Space. Founding Artistic Director Scott Palmer says that the move from the Civic Center Plaza in downtown Hillsboro to The Vault is about audience comfort and more amenities. “We loved performing at the Civic Center for the past nine years and we truly did create some memorable work in that space,” says Palmer, who directed all nine of the previous outdoor shows. “But for the past two years we have struggled with rain-offs, really serious smoke from last summer’s fires, and, of course, some over 100 degree days. Moving the show to The Vault helps us eliminate all of those challenges while giving our audiences access to our concessions, comfortable seating, and air conditioning.”
As You Like It or, Love In A Forest is part-promenade, meaning that audiences begin the show outside in The Vault courtyard for the opening scene, move indoors for the bulk of the play, and end the show back outside in the courtyard for the final, very Shakespearean romantic-comedy ending. “It is the best of all worlds,” says Greer. “Our audiences get to enjoy some al fresco theatre for a portion of the evening, but also get to enjoy the comforts of The Vault as well.”
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