This past weekend’s production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It proved to be a truly enjoyable experience. At the Sunday afternoon showing, the cast braved persistent rainfall and ever-increasing mud to put on a joyful performance on an otherwise dreary day.
For those unfamiliar with this particular play, As You Like It follows Rosalind (portrayed by Elaina Weakliem ‘25) as she flees her Uncle’s court under threat of banishment to the Forest of Arden. Disguised as a man named Ganymede and accompanied by her cousin Celia (Melanie LeDrew ‘26), Rosalind encounters a host of memorable characters including her to-be love Orlando (played by Cal Olcott). Orlando, who is in love with Rosalind but unaware of her current disguise as Ganymede, seeks counsel from Ganymede to “cure” his lovesickness. Spoiler alert: it does not succeed, and they get married in the end, accompanied by “Got to Get You Into My Life” by the Beatles.
I was initially intrigued by the play having seen Olcott galumphing down the amphitheater stairs during pre-production photos, tossing brightly colored papers and gesticulating wildly. Despite being quite convinced that at any moment he would fall and break his neck, the entire affair was wildly entertaining, something that certainly held true of the actual performance.
Elaina Weakliem (’25) stars as both the Lady Rosalind and her male alter ego, Ganymede.
Director and producer Madi Coleman ‘24 said of the play that: “I wanted to make a version that only this group of actors and I could make.” From LeDrew’s nail polish interludes to the expertly timed recorder tunes, one was never quite sure what would happen next.
Weakliem brought a grounded and occasionally world-wearied mien to Rosalind, which played perfectly in her scenes with Olcott’s bright and earnest Orlando. In Coleman’s words, “The success of those moments really speaks to Elaina and Cal as performers—they were able to make subtle choices that culminated in a scene that is simultaneously silly and moving.”
A personal favorite addition was Caitryn Tronoski (‘26) as Jacques, tap dancing their way through several scenes. Coleman echoed the sentiment, stating, “There has never been a tap-dancing Jacques before, but it works so well, which speaks to the genius of Rain.”
The entire cast seemed to radiate a shared joy. Emerson Schimmel (‘24), aided by his between-scenes jacket changes, charmed while playing two very opposite Dukes. Evan Heintz ‘25 warmed the morally grey Oliver, managing to somehow convince the audience to overlook the attempted murder in his character arc and root for a happy ending. Every scene with Katie Kapustka as Corin was wholesome and delightful, and Simon Weinstein’s Silvius was a perfectly woeful and sympathetic counterpart to Coleman’s Phebe. And I can confidently say that there has never been a Charles quite like the one portrayed by Violet Burns (‘25), wrestling intro music and all. The As You Like It production embodied some of the best qualities this community has to offer, embracing the individual talents and personalities of the cast to create an altogether imaginative and original passion project that was a joy to behold.