Edison puts ’60s spin on Shakespeare

Staff report

PIQUA — This spring at Edison State Community College, the Edison Stagelight Players (ESP) will present William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” Performances are scheduled April 8, 9, 15 and 16, all at 7:30 p.m. Additionally, one Sunday afternoon matinee is scheduled for April 17, at 3:30 p.m. All performances will be in the Robinson Theater of the Piqua Campus.

“As You Like It” is a breezy comedy about the art of courtship, young love among the sun-dappled trees and the potential for growth and change amidst social upheaval and changed circumstances. Like several of Shakespeare works, the play is also an exploration of how people reveal themselves and discover each other through speech.

The play is also an ancestor to the modern rom-com, with a female protagonist who gets herself mixed up in an unusual relationship with her prospective boyfriend and must use all her wits to work things out, accompanied by all kinds of comic relief.

Director Jayson Grigsby notes, “We’ve set the play in a dream world out of the 1960s, which is in keeping with the text’s pastoral setting, its cast of social outcasts who have found a communal oasis in the wilderness, and its theme of youthful romantics who become disillusioned with their elders in a time of political unrest. Plus there’s lots of music!

Costumer William Loudermilk is designing an array of outfits that reflect a range of brightly colored ‘60s styles, each tied to the three main groups of characters, and since the play is set in a ’60s milieu, Matt Beisner is combining naturalistic lighting for forest settings with more psychedelic effects for key scenes.

“This production’s rehearsals have been deeply collaborative: Ideas are encouraged from anyone, which we find is a rewarding way to assemble the diverse elements of performance and create a more well-rounded production,” Grigsby said.

“As we try to do with every play, the cast is a talented group of students, alumni, and people of all ages from the surrounding community, including some ESP mainstays.”

Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students, $3 for seniors, with children 12 and under admitted free (with parental supervision).

For more information or to make reservations, contact Karen Baker by emailing kbaker@edisonohio.edu or calling (937) 381-1502.

Staff report