Pittsburgh City Parks
Weekends in September
Biting comedy meets pastoral environs this month, via Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks‘ (PSIP) current presentation of As You Like It.
Celebrating its 10th season of presenting free Shakespeare plays in city parks around the Burgh, the company is reprising its inaugural 2005 production of As You Like It, one of the Bard’s classic comedies, which takes place in the Forest of Arden and explores universal themes of love, deception, gender disguise and mistaken identity.
Providing the sylvan setting for Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy are four of the city’s most popular green spaces: Frick Park (Squirrel Hill), Allegheny Commons West Park (North Side), Arsenal Park (Lawrenceville) and Schenley Park (Oakland). The production also includes special accompanying activities, such as hikes with Venture Outdoors, storytelling previews by Alan Irvine and children’s adaptations by Falstaff’s Fellows.
Penned by the Bard in 1599 or 1600, As You Like It follows the story’s heroine Rosalind, as she flees persecution in her uncle’s court. Accompanied by her cousin Celia, the play’s spunky female protagonist eventually finds security, and love, in the Forest of Arden. Theater-goers will be drawn in to the story, and the park, as they encounter a memorable cast of characters, including melancholy traveler Jaques, a mouthpiece for some of Shakespeare’s most iconic speeches (read: “All the world’s a stage”). One of Shakespeare’s most famous and oft-quoted works, As You Like It has been adapted for radio, film and musical theatre.
Directed by Lisa Ann Goldsmith, As You Like It stars PSIP artistic director Jennifer Tober as Rosalind. Using no set except the natural environs, PSIP’s 10th anniversary production employs the First Folio text, using Shakespeare’s original language as it was first published a few years after the playwright’s death in 1623. Along with Tober, the cast features Andrew Miller as Orlando, Elizabeth Ruelas as Celia, John Michnya as Jacques, Drew Palajsa as Touchstone and Tonya Lynn as Audrey. The cast also includes: Chuck Beikert, Nicholas Benninger, Eric Davidson, Adrienne Fischer, Anthony Gullickson and Adam Rutledge.
Free performances, which are open to all ages, run Saturday and Sunday afternoons (rain or shine), through September 28th, in four different city parks. Audience members are invited to bring blankets, chairs and picnics.