I’m Cole the Executive Director of SFS. Nora had asked around the company to see if any one was interested in writing a blog I said I would love to. Recently the opportunity came up for me to go watch a pick up rehearsal of Geneva Underground Playhouse’s production of “The Curate Shakespeare As You Like It” and I thought it was a perfect topic. I had a lot of fun going to go watch the show. I started my theater career at GUP and it was fun going back. I was very happy to see that the space had been redesigned and a new much larger stage had been built and that the tech area had become a permanent fixture. The new stage is almost theater in the round and it really lets the audience get close to the actors. I had a great view and could see everything happening on stage. It was great fun to sit there and watch this funny play. I even got to play with the characters a little.
Basically the play is a variant on “Kiss Me Kate.” A theater is attempting to put on a show of “As You Like It” and they keep loosing actors, love spats are breaking out and everyone is playing multiple characters; creating moments of panic, confusion and hilarity. The plot of the play mirrors the plot of the backstage life creating some very funny moments in either world you are watching on stage. I loved the material they had, there were delicious little nuggets of pop culture references. Some pretty great moments of physical humor are to be had, especially when William played by Ed McDow is choking Amiens played by George McArdle. Rather then choking Amiens, William keeps dropping his hands and Amiens throws himself at William to complete the scene. They were great comedians together! The play was riff with naughty little Shakespeare jokes. The play even went so far as to explain why the jokes were naughty. Silly little Rosalind played by Christina Ferrari who has gone mad under the pressure to perform serves as a great prologue explaining all the little bits and making Shakespeare a little more accessible. One part that made me giggle especially hard was the use of patterns in speech.
The whole play had me laughing. There were fart jokes and everything, Ryan Ruffati who plays Clown did a great job of being a clown. His closing speech had me laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. Cheryl Newman who played Audrey was a great unwilling actress. She did a great job of coming into her character and really won my heart at the end of the show. One part I liked was the Curate played by Mike Manolakes. He was the rock of the show and always remained a stout serious actor through out the show. By the end his character was hysterical because it just stayed right there, a very difficult bit of acting to keep the whole time.
This is a great play for a Shakespeare fan to go see. It’s also a great introduction to Shakespeare, just brush up on the basics of the plot and you’ll be golden. The show remained true to Shakespeare’s humor and writing style with a great modern twist. I had a lot of fun watching the play and really would like to go back this weekend to see it with full costumes and the whole nine yards. They close this weekend so go, if you can. I would recommend going early to get a good seat in the front. If a pick up is that funny the show is going to be great!