Friday, 20 May 2011

Prague Shakespeare Festival

Last night saw the opening performance of as magical and inventive a production of As You Like It as you are like to see. In the appropriately verdant setting of Vyšehrad's 'Letni Scena' (Summer Theatre) we were transported to a Forest of Arden where nature conspired with art in the most extraordinary ways. At the interval, a spring breeze whipped the flowers from the lilac growing from the wall of the old castle, scattering petals over the upturned faces of the audience; and at the end, as if to crown the spell of love cast by Rosalind, a distant note sounded from a steamer on the Vltava below the ramparts. The timing could not have been bettered.

And that went for the play as well, whose moments of comedy, bawdy and lyricism were interwoven brilliantly in this high-energy co-production from the Prague Shakespeare Festival and Houston's Classical Theatre (sic) Company. In what was an exceptionally strong company performance, particular credit must go to director Guy Roberts, doubling as old Adam and the melancholy Jacques, and to Jessica Boone in her debut with the PSF as Rosalind.

Czech audience members were well catered for, both by the stammering attempts of Philip Hays's redneck Silvius to make out with Laura Baranik's appropriately tarty Phebe, and also the quantities of klobasy and the obligatory křen (horseradish), some of which your blogger inadvertently fed to a sheep. But that's another story. The highlight? Undoubtedly the moment when the company chorus of  'It was a Lover and his Lass' suddenly mutated into Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'. Hats off to all.

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Leif Hagen said...

It must have been fun to see the Shakespeare Festival! Live theater is always great!

Alex Went said...

Leif it was just terrific. I guess I've seen, taught, been in or directed this play a good half-dozen times. But this was the ONE. For sure. Thanks for your comment, as always

Kate said...

A terrific portrait. She must be French because she knows how to use a scarf!

Gina Hearn said...

It was amazing, wasn't it? For me, the best thing was that it was the first time I'd had a real sense of what it must have been like to watch a Shakespeare play as it was performed in Shakespeare's day.

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