In conjunction with the Chicago Columbia Club, we welcome Michael Shapiro, esteemed Shakespearean scholar for a presentation on As You Like It, one of Shakespeare’s “greenwood,” comedies. As in many pastoral narratives, the central characters flee the Court or City and arrive in an enchanted place where they come to know themselves and their companions in greater depth before returning to the “civilized” world. Their interactions with the locals, a mix of political exiles and true rustics, also spark a running debate about the relative merits of court and country.
A true romantic comedy, the play ends in no fewer than four marriages, each representing a different understanding of heterosexual love. The heroine of the play, Rosalind, is one of Shakespeare’s five young women who don male disguises, which she uses to test, tease and train the young man who professes to love her. Michael suggests that we watch the BBC production (1978), in which Rosalind is played, with great wit and charm, by a young Helen Mirren. It can be rented inexpensively from Amazon Prime Video.
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