THAD department presents Shakespeare production
Gina Scott / Winonan
Winona State University’s theatre and dance program will present their production of the Shakespearean play, “As You Like It,” from April 13 to 16 in the Vivian Fusillo Main Stage Theatre.
Along with many returning actors, the show will feature some student actors who have yet to perform in a Winona State production, including first-year student Jake Leif.
“I wanted to get settled into the college lifestyle during my first semester here,” Leif said. “By the end of that first semester, I was ready to take on something more than just classes, so I tried out for the spring show.”
Leif plays the role of Orlando, the male lead character in the story of “As You Like It.” Orlando is forced to flee his home for being persecuted just after he has fallen in love with Rosalind, whom is played by senior Emma VanVactorLee.
“My favorite part about Orlando is his attitude throughout the show,” Leif said. “He’s very much an underdog and he does everything in his power to change his fate.”
Director Jim Williams has updated this production to have a more modern feel and adaptability for the audience. Originally set in 17th century France, this production is updated to 1940s Vichy, France.
This new setting allows the audience to better connect to the classic story. It also leaves more room for the production team and actors to play around with wardrobe, set design and acting choices.
“As You Like It,” features many characters and their experiences with love. The collection of different circumstances come together to show love in its various manifested forms.
“There’s honest love, there’s love that comes from lust and there’s the type of love where you’re in love with somebody but that person is not in love with you,” Williams said.
In order to portray these feelings and events, the actors have had to work on not only grasping the language, but also utilizing so it will be comprehensible for the audience.
“A lot of [learning the language] has to do with the basics like articulation and projection,” Williams said. “The challenge is being able to handle the language in a way that the audience understand what’s going on.”
“As You Like It” is also Leif’s first Shakespearian play. Through decoding and the help of Winona State alumni Andy Halvorsen as the text translator and dramaturge, a consultant on the theatrical representation of a work, the actors were able to learn their lines and develop the correct body language and inflection that goes with each line.
“It’s an educational process,” Williams said. “We like to expose our students to as many different genres as possible.”
Tickets are $8 for students with their identification card and $12 for the public. Tickets are available at the Winona State Arts Tickets website or by calling the Box Office.
All students of different backgrounds are encouraged to see the production, despite the assumed dense language of a Shakespearian play.
“Once you start to get the hang of [the language], you learn how beautiful the writing actually is,” Leif said.