The Coastal Post - August 1999

As You Like It In Stinson

By Jeff Smith

Is this the Forest of Arden, Muir Woods or has Great Birnam Wood marched to Stinson Beach?

Set Designer Ronald Krempetz has created a virtual forest for AS YOU LIKE IT, Shakespeare at Stinson's second play of the 1999 season. While Mr. Krempetz swung his hammer and paint brush, director Nancy Carlin created a most enjoyable and accessible play that audiences of all ages will undoubtedly find entertaining. Ms. Carlin has preserved the delicate balance of the play, stringing ample portions of wit, romance and comedy onto a low intensity story line which is generously punctuated with laughter and a magically happy ending.

Children will particularly enjoy this show. If you are trying to convince your children that a culture exists beyond Lucas special effects and the homogenizing, mesmerizing pale of the mass media wit Austin Powers, this show will provide compelling and entertaining evidence. This critic took five children to the show-ages ten to sixteen-and all of them were enthralled. Good directing, highly animated acting and the perennial magic of Shakespeare's romance and comedy render this show friendly to all audiences. Even teenagers with major attitude seem to drop their guard and permit themselves to indulge in such a traditional pleasure as Shakespeare.

Artistic Director Jeffrey Trotter, the Puckish Impresario of Stinson, has recruited some conspicuous talent for this show. Leading lady, Jennifer Taggart brilliantly radiates all the intelligence, passion, steadfast strength and lovely virtues of Rosalind as she single handedly leads the action of the play to its most happy nuptial denouement. Paul Silverman deftly rises to what is arguably the most challenging role in the play. Mr. Silverman is smartly cast as the complex fool Touchstone:

a character who equally divides himself between sober pragmatism, the lofty rhetorical wit of the scholar, the foolery of the knave and the bawdy passions of his codpiece. Jennifer Wagner graces the stage as the lovely and loyal Celia's daughter of the evil Duke Senior and faithful cousin to Rosalind. Shakespeare at Stinson is more than outdoor theater:

every performance is a Shakespeare festival. Cut off from fin de siecle, indeed the fin de millennium, media blitzes of the raging culture wars, this sheltered hamlet-no pun intended-of Stinson Beach provides an ideal ambiance for escaping the current media driven culture of "shag" prefixes and slipping into the timeless pleasures of Shakespeare. Picnic baskets, dry white wines and Cliffs Notes are equally welcome. AS YOU LIKE IT runs through August 15th. For reservations call 415 868-1115.

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