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Cappies: Nerinx does 'As You Like It' well

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 26, 2013 - In the Forest of Arden, you will encounter musical forest dwellers, exiled dukes, cynical women, and youth entrapped within their own desires. Nerinx Hall brought all elements of a fantastic Shakespearean production and more to a play, which is not common among high schools.

"As You Like It" was written around 1600 by William Shakespeare. The comedy chronicles the experiences of Rosalind, a sprightly maiden, and Orlando, a dapper young man with impulse spilling out of his love-struck head, as they separately journey into the Forest of Arden and become changed people within the wood. Nerinx took an interesting spin on the classic play, choosing to stage the production in England in the 1930s, following the crash of 1929.

Leading the cast, McKenzie Moser brought spunk and charm to Rosalind. Moser exhibited superb acting ability, bringing all elements of a dainty young lady to Rosalind while still setting forth a clear objective on Rosalind’s face. While portraying Rosalind’s male alias, Ganymede, Moser kept up with her comedic quirks, which led to hilarity. As Rosalind's not-so-secret admirer Orlando, Paul Fister consistently used smooth physicality and distinct voice inflection, which are crucial for Shakespearean plays.

Mostly seen slinking his way onto the stage was Nate Cummings as Oliver, Orlando’s older brother. Cummings clearly portrayed the sneaky and devilish character in the beginning of the play through his mannerisms as well as his facials. Rosalind’s sidekick, Celia, was executed very well by Maggie Hogan. Hogan offered charisma and optimism, as well as motherly charm, toward her cousin Rosalind.

The stage was transformed into a clean and useful space for the actors to progress scenes through. Tall trees stood against the cyclorama, and a colorful array of lights splashed down, successfully imitating the true beauty of sunset. As townsfolk stood against the cyclorama during the wrestling match, clad in accurate 1930s wardrobe, an element was alive that was reminiscent of the style of art in that era.

Occasionally, lines were rushed, which made it more difficult to comprehend the meaning the actors were attempting to convey. This is one difficult aspect of Shakespearean acting. Also, while scene changes were minimal, one included the crew entering the stage while a scene was in progress and removing mats used for the wrestling scene. Perhaps the removal of this mat could have waited until a more plausible time, or possibly it was more urgent to remove the mat than the audience understood.

From the silent rise of the curtain to Rosalind’s final empowering monologue, the players of Nerinx Hall’s production of "As You Like It" each played a crucial role in creating a beautiful performance, as well as reminding the audience that all the world is a stage.

Molly Grotha is a student at Marquette High School. The Cappies program works with students who review high school theatrical productions.

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