Monday, February 1, 2010


Ah, Rosalind, what a wonderful character you are. Your wit, your charm, and your compassion are all so beautifully intertwined in Shakespeare's "As You Like It" and you shine so brightly as the spirit animating all the key developments in the play. You are its true center and you provide us with our best evidence that Shakespeare was one of our first feminists who understood that in intelligence, charm, and spirit, you surpass any man. As played by Juliet Rylance in the current production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, you remind us of all those gleaming qualities that compel us to keep our eyes on you whenever you are on stage. We watch for your wry smile, your clever retort, your alert concern, your hesitant advances toward Orlando, It is you that we most want to win happiness and to return from the Forest of Arden with a new found appreciation for both the foolishness and the profundity that drive human experience.

In the end, as you declaim the charming epilogue that brings the play to a close, we hang on your every trope and image. Your lovely movements and your smiling utterances nearly causing us to forget the actual words you release to the air, but a few of your most memorable observations persevere. Not least that your goal is to conjure us, beginning first with the women and then with the men. And conjure us you do, leaving our present behind however fleetingly, to ponder this misty forest world where you are its most magical inhabitant and we its most admiring trespassers.

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