New Farm community theatre group Nash Theatre has given their production of Shakespeare’s classic As You Like It a distinctly Australian flavour.
Director Jason Nash says that the play features all of the hallmarks of classic Shakespeare: comedy, romance, crossdressing, and lots of mistaken identities.
“As You Like It deals with a court that’s in tumult. An old duke has been overthrown by a new duke. Everything’s in disarray and whole bunch of exiles find themselves having to flee to the forest of Arden,” he said.
“In the forest, in order to keep themselves safe, the lead character Rosalind disguises herself as a man, and whilst there she runs into the guy that she fell in love with, Orlando.
“She decides it’d be a great idea to teach Orlando how to go about wooing Rosalind while she’s in disguise as a guy. She’ll pretend to be Rosalind for him so he can practice his moves.”
He said they’ve created an Aussie bush landscape for the play, while at the same time preserving Shakespeare’s verse.
“We’re not changing Shakespeare’s words, we’re just giving it a bit of an Aussie flavour,” he said.
“The play deals with differences between city and country, and I think Australians have that really poignant differentiation between the two. If you’ve grown up in a country town, you definitely feel those city-country differences daily.
“We’ve built our production around that. Our court is riffing loosely on the idea of Canberra, and we have a few cheeky references to politicians but we’re very bipartisan in our mocking.
“We’ve also got some Australian pub ballads in the play, including Hunters & Collectors’ ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’, Powderfinger’s ‘These Days’ and a bit of Cold Chisel too.”
As You Like It opens at Nash Theatre on May 12 and runs until June 2. Nash Theatre is located at The Brunswick Room in the Merthyr Road Uniting Church at 52 Merthyr Road, New Farm. For tickets and more information visit their website.