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Talking Shakespeare

Notes from a Journey

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Louis Fantasia

Talking Shakespeare is a collection of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and politics and their impact in the world today. Originally given as provocative talks on Shakespeare at some of the most prestigious universities, conferences, and theatres around the world, they reflect on the author’s more than thirty-year career as a producer, director and educator. The essays provide a unique and personal look into multiple aspects of Shakespeare’s world—and ours.

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Chapter 3. What Happens in Arden Stays in Arden

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· 3 · WHAT HAPPENS IN ARDEN STAYS IN ARDEN (Pre- show talk for As You Like It; Portland, Oregon 2011) “Ay, now am I in Arden,” and not in Carmageddon!1 What a relief! And it’s been sunny in Portland— who could ask for more? I’m honored to be speaking to you for this initial production of the Portland Shakespeare Project tonight. I’ve had a chance to do a workshop with some of your actors and saw the play at its opening last night, so I think you’re in for a treat. As You Like It. What a fascinating title: boys with girls, boys with boys, girls with girls, girls with boys; whatever. It’s cool. It’s the forest. We’re here to please! Most of what happens in As You Like It happens in the first act: at- tempted murder, broken ribs, falling in love, running away, all very dramatic stuff. And then we get to the forest. “Ay, now am I in Arden; the more fool I; when I was at home, I was in a better place: but travelers must be content,” says Touchstone, the clown of the play. And content they are. The runaways, all fleeing for their lives at the end of Act I, now have enough time, content- ment, and, well… peace… that they can take up sheep- shearing and poetry. Green Acres certainly is the place for me, if this is what country life is like. Shakespeare leaves the resolution of all the problems he has...

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