‘As You Like It’: Lane’s first in-person play production after more than a year


Katie Ratke

Cristina Liberto and Ava Kolodziej in a dress rehersal for “As You Like It”

By Breanna Williams, A&E Editor

After a virtual play last fall, Lane finally held an in-person production with Shakespeare’s play, “As You Like It”. The director and drama teacher, Ms. Meacham, said she’s glad to have students back in-person. 

“There’s just nothing like life in the theater,” Meacham said. “And as fun as the radio play was, there is something about showing up on stage, and if kids are willing to stay for a couple of hours after school still wearing a mask, still being at school at the end of the long day — because I know it was a huge transition—for them to be willing to do that, it’s an amazing thing.” 

Lane’s production follows Shakespeare’s storyline except for the setting, which Meacham changed with the play taking place in the 1960s. She also cut two hours off of the original. Meacham said that despite the play being on the shorter side, they were able to incorporate necessary elements. Meacham said her goal was ultimately to spread joy and laughter — something people can use in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The play is going to run about an hour long. But I think it gets a lot of the story and the silliness across; it’s lots of people entering and saying something silly and going out. I think that’s fun and upbeat and something we could use —we could use a little bit of upbeat and fun,” Meacham said.

“As You Like It” follows characters, Rosalind and Orlando, who are star-crossed lovers that have complicated home situations. In order to minimize complications, they are forced to separate and take on different identities, but Rosalind goes to great lengths to change her identity by pretending to be a man named Ganymede.

 Rosalind (as Ganymede) flees to a forest where she meets many other characters, but she is reunited with Orlando. Rosalind takes this opportunity to convince Orlando to woo her as Ganymede to get over his love for Rosalind, not knowing that Ganymede is actually Rosalind. 

This leads to complications and with new characters introduced, new infatuations blossom and chaos ensues. According to Meacham, things mostly work out in the end for the characters and the play has a relatively happy ending. 

Cristina Liberto, Div. 277, who plays Rosalind, said that acting in-person after such a long time was a bit of a transition, but Meacham has been really kind by helping everyone get used to acting onstage and being understanding of outside conflicts that may interfere with the show. 

According to Liberto, Rosalind is the female character with the most lines of all Shakespeare’s plays, so the combination of her amount of lines and the Shakespearean dialogue was challenging. Her main goal is to keep the audience entertained and make sure the message is very clear due to the extra comprehension needed to understand the show. 

“That’s something really important to me: making sure that the audience stays very entertained and making sure I’m very clear with my lines and that the story is told very directly and clearly as much as possible with Shakespearean dialogue,” Liberto said. 

Along with the difficult dialogue, transitioning to full-body acting was also something actors needed to get used to. According to Caden Shapiro, Div. 270, who plays the character Silvius, it was strange coming back in person at first, but students quickly grew accustomed to being onstage.  

“There was a little bit of a gray period we had where we were like, ‘how do we do things again?’ But now we’re back in it, we’re into it. It’s going great,” Shapiro said.

The cast and crew have been sticking to strict guidelines to make sure everything is COVID-safe. There’s limited touching, and food and beverages are prohibited onstage and offstage. Everyone involved in the production wears masks at all times. 

“We act with masks on,” Shapiro said. “There’s slight touching but it’s all done in a safe way. It’s like small things, like their wrists get grabbed. Everyone consented to it, it’s all very much COVID safe. It’s not much different from a normal show except we have masks on.” 

After not being able to act in-person for over a year, there was an influx of students who auditioned to be in the play. Meacham said she wished that more people could participate, but due to the pandemic, casting had to be limited. 

“I’m always astonished by the amount of talent at Lane,” Meacham said. “I wish I could’ve cast everyone, but when you have so many kids auditioning and with social distancing… We’re still in a pandemic trying to be careful with contact tracing.” 

Even with all the restrictions, students said acting in-person again has been something they missed. Liberto said that her favorite part about the “As You Like It” production is acting in-person again, after being limited to virtual acting the year before. 

“Coming back to walking on the stage, rehearsing every day in the auditorium, working with tech, hearing my voice and hearing our characters through the microphones and auditorium,” Liberto said. “And reconnecting with other actors has been amazing because online it’s really hard to get to know everyone and meet new people. It’s been so wonderful to get to know everyone.”

The production took place Oct. 27 and Oct. 28 at 3:45 p.m. and the last two shows will be held Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 at 7:00 p.m.