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Photo Flash: Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep

Photo Flash: Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep Equity. Joy. Imagination. These were the words conveyed to us by Angie Kamel, the Director of Public Works at the Seattle Rep, before the opening performance of Public Works' production of "As You Like It". And as with their inaugural production of "The Odyssey" back in 2017, those words say it all. Bringing together people from all walks of life across Seattle, professionals and non-professionals alike, to tell a story in such a positive way brings joy and imagination to life in the most equitable way possible.

This year it's an adaptation of Shakespeare's "As You Like It", but with this musical adaptation from Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery (commissioned for the Public Works program in New York), the forest of Arden has never been so joyful. If you're familiar with the original, most is still there. Orlando (Christian Quinto) is banished by his older brother Oliver (Andy Walker) and flees persecution but not before running into and falling in love with the beautiful Rosalind (Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako) who has been saved by her cousin Celia (Varinique "V" Davis) from exile by her Uncle, the power mad Duke Frederick (Rikki Kjolso). But when Rosalind realizes she can't stay there any longer she disguises herself as a man and she and her cousin, along with the court fool Touchstone (Eric Ankrim), run off to the forest of Arden where all the exiled have created a community. And it's all narrated for us by the melancholy Jaques (Keiko Green).

As I said, it's almost the same. Rosalind's father, Duke Senior, who was exiled is now her mother played by Shaunyce Omar. Silvias, a shepherd, who is in love with Phebe, a shepherdess, who falls for the male guise of Rosalind is now Silvia played by Maddie Chancey and she is in love with Phoebe played by Faith Howes. And Touchstone, when in Arden, doesn't fall for the beautiful Audrey but instead falls for the hunky Andy played by Seth Lifland.

But that's not all. With the inclusion of Taub's songs moving the story along, love sonnets become boy-band numbers, and Jaques speeches turn into delightful opening and closing numbers. If that weren't enough, we're given incredible performances from Lucha Libre Volcanica as they put on the wrestling match where Orlando is run out of town and a stunning Lion dance from LQ Lion Dance tells the story of Orlando saving his brother.

Uh oh, Dear Readers, I've done a bad thing. I said they were "incredible" and "stunning". You see, I can't really review this as, technically, it's not a professional production. I can't talk about how the Lion Dance blew me away and actually made me tear up a bit. I can't talk about the absolute joy the wrestling sequence gave me. I can't mention how Omar along with Anna Porkalob tore the roof off the place with their incredible vocals. I can't comment on how funny and cute Ankrim and Lifland were together. And I certainly can't mention how amazing the 100+ people on that stage were and how much of a feat it is that director Timothy McCuen Piggee pulled it all together in such an outstanding way. Nope, I can't say any of that.

What I can say is how much of an inclusive and life-affirming event these Public Works programs are. Bringing the community together to tell a positive show full of love and happiness is what life should be all about. And the Public Works programs at the Seattle Rep nail it. I can also share with you some photos from the evening below. Enjoy!

Public Works' "As You Like It" performed at the Seattle Rep only through September 8thso, alas, it's already gone. For information on the Public Works program visit them online at www.seattlerep.org.

Photo Flash: Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep
The cast of Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep.
Photo credit: Bronwen Houck

Photo Flash: Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep
Christian Quinto, Varinique "V" Davis, Claudine Mboligikpelani Nakoand the cast of Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep.
Photo credit: Bronwen Houck

Photo Flash: Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep
Shaunyce Omar and the cast of Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep.
Photo credit: Bronwen Houck

Photo Flash: Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep
Christian Quinto and the cast of Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep.
Photo credit: Bronwen Houck

Photo Flash: Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep
The Lion Dance from Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep.
Photo credit: Bronwen Houck

Photo Flash: Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep
The cast of Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep.
Photo credit: Bronwen Houck




From This Author - Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting... (read more about this author)


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