As You Like It School Tour
By Geoff Wilson (PhD Student)
In spring semester 2014, the Ohio State University Department of Theatre presented a touring production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, as part of the department’s ongoing partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Shakespeare’s delightful comedy was adapted and directed for a school-age audience by Mo Ryan, and was performed by a cast of nine Ohio State undergraduate students and two graduate students. Following its February opening weekend at the Lincoln Theatre downtown, the production traveled to 18 schools in the greater Columbus area, bringing Shakespeare’s play to more than four thousand local children in grades K-12.
Playing on the two meanings of “court” in the adaptation, Duke Frederick’s court was changed into a basketball court, one of many choices aimed at making the world of the play more familiar for the young audiences. Performances were followed by workshops based on the Stand Up for Shakespeare exercises that have been developed in the Ohio State/RSC partnership. Children were invited to interact with the actors and to engage with Shakespeare’s language in a playful and open environment.