AS YOU LIKE IT By William Shakespeare Comes to UNM
As You Like It, one of Shakespeare's great comedies, has long been an audience favorite, and no wonder...it's filled with spectacular wit and humor, along with gender identity, philosophy, Nature as the Cure for Civilization, "All the world's a stage," wrestling, lust, coming of age, and music. Name it. It's in there. UNM's Department of Theatre and Dance production of Shakespeare's As You Like It runs November 9 through 19, 2018 in Rodey Theatre on UNM's Main Campus.
Forced into exile in the Forest of Arden, lovers Rosalind and Orlando become entangled in a beguiling game of love, lust, and mistaken identity. Shakespeare's gender-bending comedy is a timely tale of transformation amidst the trials and triumphs of every kind of love.
When asked what drew him to directing As You Like It for UNM, director Shepard Sobel said, "first of all, the play delights in questioning gender roles. I grew up on Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver. I've tried to stay current, but one individual and one group of people have heaps to teach me. The individual is Shakespeare, and the group is my cast. I've known this play for 50 years, and I'm learning it now as if for the first time. When questioned further about what make this play perfect for this day and time, he said, "As You Like It is a romp through at least 20 kinds of love: between brothers, between cousins, father and daughter, and at very least 4 variations of lovers. If ever there was a time a community needed to be reminded that love is the only antidote to self-interest, jealousy, small-mindedness, and politics, November of 2018 may be it.
Before moving to New Mexico, Shepard Sobel founded The Pearl Theatre Company, a professional resident acting company that produced a classical repertory in New York City. As artistic director from 1984 through 2009, he was responsible for the nature and quality of all performances and programs. Among the productions he directed at The Pearl were 13 Greek tragedies, 12 plays by Shakespeare, 4 of Ibsen, 3 each of Racine and Chekhov, and plays by Molière, Marivaux, Wycherley, Sheridan, Ostrovsky, Strindberg, and Lorca. Since moving to New Mexico, he has directed at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and at University of New Mexico, as well as at Hendrix College in Arkansas and numerous theater companies in Albuquerque. Shepard Sobel teaches acting and directing at UNM.
The eighteen-member cast includes, Hannah Cooper, Christa Bell, Melanie Alderette, Rebecca Ulbricht, Douglas Brandt, Aris Zaffer, James O'Keefe, Antonio Trigo, Elijah Kelly, Jess Liesveld, Arielle Scavron, Emiliano Aguilar, Gregory Ryan, Myriah Duda, Robert John Taylor, Noah Solomon, Josef Meleh-Solomon, and Neil Faulconbridge.
The costume design is by Professor Dorothy Baca. The scenic design is by Christopher Rodriguez and lighting design is by Brandon Cullinan, both UNM Design Majors. Sage Hughes is the dramaturg and assistant director and the stage manager is Nicol Couch.
Shepard Sobel had one other compelling reason to stage As You Like It at UNM, "Probably 14 of the 18 cast members in our production are experiencing Shakespeare for the first time. Once upon a time, I took my daughter to her very first opera. She nor I will ever forget how full, how expansive we felt. How could I resist the opportunity to introduce Will to the cast and, hopefully, to many in the audience? It's a matchmaker's dream come true."
As You Like It plays November 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 at 7:30pm and November 11 & 18 at 2:00pm in Rodey Theatre, located in the Center for the Arts on UNM's main campus at 203 Cornell Avenue NE. Ticket prices are $15 General admission, $12 UNM Faculty & Seniors, and $10 UNM Staff & all Students. Tickets are available at the UNM Ticket Offices located at the UNM Bookstore, Central and Cornell, or the Arena (The Pit), University and Avenida Caesar Chavez, and by calling (505) 925-5858. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.unmtickets.com. More information is available online at http://theatre.unm.edu or by calling 277-4332.