As You Like It: Will Shakespeare…. what is it that we (are) like?

IMG_9779_2 What a fantastic performance by the Bell Shakespeare Company at the Opera House Drama Theatre. Around 60 students from ACU and another 20 or so from the Clemente program witnessed this great event. Thank you all for attending. Shakespeare’s As You Like It is a play that appeals above all to our sense of order, our sense of a world that is running harmoniously, free from arguments, jealousies and all kinds of conflicts – especially within families. Shakespeare constructs a “feel good” narrative in which everyone, eventually gets what they want and what they deserve. But this is not without showing us also, what drives people’s greed, what colours their attitudes. So the play is a mixture of realistic presentation of the nasty side of being human, then softened by the joys of what happens when people are nice to each other. And all this is overlooked (as in reviewed philosophically) by Jacques (Squeeze a Jay) who dares to sum up the human condition with the most famous Shakespearean lines: “All the world’s a stage, /And all the men and women merely players.” How to understand this summary of the human condition in which the stage, in the Globe Theatre, becomes a metaphor for where we all lead our lives, every moment of the day? Is there ever a time when I am off stage? Certainly the play As You Like It seems to present all the characters as if “stage-bound”…. perhaps with one exception Duke Frederick and then – following him- Jacques… who both end up in some distant monastery… Was Shakespeare drawn to that kind of conclusion himself? Certainly at the end of The Tempest the magician Prospero seems to be glad to leave the stage; and Shakespeare himself shortly thereafter left the stage and returned to his country hideaway in Stratford Upon Avon. Interesting, compelling questions….

John Bell in discussion with Michael Griffith on the role of Jaques in As You Like It

Blog Topics for Week 5 (Shakespeare ENGL210 Students only)

CREATIVE:  1/ write an alternative epilogue to the play in the voice of Orlando rather than Rosalind. 2/ Using a single line from one of the many songs in the play write a short song of your own that captures 21st century sentiments. CRITICAL: 3/ Briefly summarize what you think Jacques’ (Squeeze a Jay) philosophy of life is? 4/ “All the world’s a stage/ And all the men and women merely players”: what do you understand by this idea (2.7.138ff)? Do you think the play as a whole illustrates this idea? Shakespeares-Globe-Theatre

  5 comments for “As You Like It: Will Shakespeare…. what is it that we (are) like?

  1. March 25, 2015 at 11:54 am


    As requested here is the URL to my WordPress account and if at all possible would you be able to share it amongst your students as I wish to connect with as many persons as posible.

    Thank you in advance,

    thecountrykid (Tom W)

  2. March 26, 2015 at 12:15 am

    “A Cultural experience”
    There was anticipation, as I honestly didn’t know what to expect, being a novice and attending my very first play in theatre, and in all places… the opera house. Hence being my circumstances, this review is from a perspective of someone who has yet any memories to compare. Fresh insights and inspired to share, with no more than mere words… what lay before you is my reflections upon the experience.
    I felt a nervous anticipation as I walk casually through to my seat. In my mind i had a basic vision, or expectation of what I considered a play would consist of… old apparels, costumes that would be in accordance and reflected that era of Shakespeare. How the image of the play should appear quickly and completely diminished as the lighting was lower to a sombre glow.
    Recalling my initial shock, well shock is an over emphasis, contentment or surprise would be more appropriate, the dress apparels were more contemporary…a modern version of a classic. I was intrigued, demanding my prompt attention and focus. Upon the first couple of words uttered, string in the mysterious and skilful fashion of ‘old English ‘ , for lack of a better term…it mesmerised and engaged me in immense focus as I listened intently, processing one sentence quickly before grabbing onto the next. This consumed much energy, though quickly it became more consistent and free flowing, taking less thought and deconstruction (analysing) of sentence structure.
    In summary, my thoughts are that it was beautifully crafted and displayed by all involved. It was an unusual cast but it worked well in conjunction with the theme. The mode, tone, and atmosphere all contributed towards the entirety of the play as a whole and complete piece of art visually. The use of language as a focal point was powerful in its own right, through simple words delicately string together, warranted concentration, focus and attention.
    Unconventional…is to say the least, it has been artistically and creatively modified to suit our time in this era of ‘high expectation’ and social trends. Laced with wit and humour, I found the dialogue to be clever and tasteful. Rendering music into affects was a stroke of genius as it gave the play colour, life and character. It was refreshing, and broke the monogamy of the constant flow of words to illustrate/portray a particular theme or idea. The music and singing complemented the script to a large degree as it gracefully, almost seamlessly binding, one act to the next, integrating and linking the ending of one scene into the beginning of another.
    The show was riddled and infested with clever word plays, musical intermissions and comedy had me engaged in interest. I found it to be unique and truly appealing, being entertaining and provoked my curiosity.
    Inspired, satisfied and in the fashion of Shakespeare; I’ll conclude on this note… ” Permit me not to speak a malice word to which will stain this pleasure. No less a pedestal do I place greater emphasis on which I urge thee to share this journey.”

    Michael Ken Huynh

  3. March 26, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Hey professor ! It’s michael! I posted my first blog… @michaelken826

  4. March 26, 2015 at 2:04 am

    i just read through it and found an error. need to change or replace ‘monogamy of the constant ‘ with ‘monotonous’…
    it was my 1st & original draft, i neglected to read over or edit b4 posting. ‘rookie error’

  5. March 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Professor it’s michael from Mac.
    Yeah, I am unable to access Leo as they haven’t given me my student no. Yet. I have wrote posts that I wish to blog.

    Here I find myself sitting, in a coffee shop by the roadside in the middle of King Cross. To my right, a constant flow of cars drifts past in secession. With my iPhone before me in my hands, and as I attempt to capture all that steams through my thoughts and resides in my mind. Headphones on, soft, calm, mellow tunes fills and filters my ears… drowning out all external commotions of a busy street. Lost in my own thoughts and reflections, I’m in my own private plain (dimension). The coffee and breakfast I ordered sits undisturbed before me, pre-disposed.

    Living life, embracing and being present in this moment is a gift many of us neglect, and too often, take for granted. To actually feel, attaching a real emotion to reality of time and space… Defining the experience of here and now… How do I capture this in mere words?

    It is a beautiful day, without a single cloud in sight for as far as I can see… Truly breath taking, appreciating that which is life and all that it holds. As I believe and have heard, ‘we only have today and this very moment, as tomorrow is not definite nor is it certain.’
    Even in the confusion, the hustle and bustle, frantic day to day rush of the big city of Sydney… People seemingly forgetting to even stop and breathe, remember it is the simple things that brings joy. Remove all doubt and clear all thoughts… It is easy as bringing it all back to basics… Take time and receive the world through your senses… Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste…

    I guess what I am feeling in this moment is gratitude, contentment, clarity, and maybe even a little piece of ‘hope’. I just wanted to share this with you, as I believe everyone deserves to feel these emotions I have identified.

    Have a great day people!

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