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FORTY-MINUTE PLAYS FROM SHAKESPEARE

AS YOU LIKE IT

(Condensed)

THE PERSONS IN THE PLAY

DUKE, living in exile.
DUKE FREDERICK (frěd'ér-ik), his usurping brother.

JAQUES (jā'kwēz),

lords attending on the exiled Duke.
LE BEAU (le-bo'), a courtier attending on Duke Frederick.
CHARLES (chärlz), Duke Frederick's wrestler.
First Lord,*
Second Lord, * )

attending on Duke Frederick. OLIVER (ol'l-věr),

sons of Sir Roland (rõoland) JAQUES DE Boys (jā'kwēz déboiz),

de Boys. ORLANDO (ôr-lăn’dõ), ADAM (d'ăm),

servants to Oliver. DENNIS* (děn''s), ROSALIND (roz'a-lind), daughter of the exiled Duke. CELIA (sēl'ya), daughter of Duke Frederick. 15 reading parts*

SYNOPSIS

Act I. Scene 1. Oliver's orchard. The persons represented are Adam and Orlando, Oliver, Charles.

Scene 2. A lawn before the Duke's palace. Duke Frederick, Celia and Rosalind, Le Beau.

The 15 reading rôles may be assumed, if necessary, by 11 peopleJaques de Boys "doubling” for Amiens, Charles for the First Lord, and Le Beau for both the Second Lord and Dennis.

*

Act II. In the forest of Arden. The senior Duke and his friends.

Act III. Scene, the same. The curtain will fall twice during this act, the first time to indicate an interval of a day, the second time to show the lapse of two hours.

Act IV. Scene, the same.
Act V. Scene, the same. The arrival of Jaques de Boys.

Note. For a formal presentation of the play, the Synopsis might be placed on the board or included in a printed program. The Prolog would also not be out of place there, and this would obviate speaking it. The songs could constitute a third part of such a blackboard announcement or printed program.

An audience will appreciate the songs much better if it can read them before a performance starts.

PROLOG-INTRODUCTION 1 In As You Like It the beauty of language is so striking that one often pauses to enjoy a tone or phrase in the music of the lines. The wit and imaginative qualities also awaken a realization of the wonderful expressiveness of speech. The play in this respect presents an odd contrast to a moving picture; our interest is in what the actors say even more than in what they do.

When the heightening effect of voice is lent, the rhythm of the poetry falls clearly upon the ear and the cadence of the prose 2 rings out. The sweetness of existence, which is the theme of the play, becomes a reality, and its strong impression can be enhanced only if we personify the characters.

The first scene of the play is at the estate of the deceased Sir Roland de Boys; the second at the court of the usurping Duke.

1 This introduction should receive careful attention preliminary to a first reading of the play, after which it may be laid aside for class work except when presentation before an audience makes an introduction again desirable. In this case the Prolog lines may be taken by an extra character, named Prolog for this part, or they may be assumed by the Duke. Prolog has a number of short speeches, introducing characters and scenes during the progress of the play. In this office, Prolog fulfills somewhat the same function as the Chorus in old plays.

2 cadence of the prose. More than half of As You Like It is in prose, much of which shows the influence of the highly ornate style popular in Shakespeare's day, called "Euphuism." Shakespeare was able to use such language with rare good taste, and the prose in As You Like It is very beautiful.

The remainder of the play Shakespeare has enveloped in an atmosphere of the woods. The scenes are in the Forest of Arden, in

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There was also a Forest of Arden in central England. Warwickshire was Shakespeare's home, and the setting of As You Like It is probably more truly Warwickshire than Flanders.

In London was the theatre in which Shakespeare served his apprenticeship as an actor and afterwards became playwright and part owner.

French Flanders. The influence of the forest is so manifest that, as has well been said, “its delicate freshness steals into the heart”;

1 the forest of Arden (är'děn): properly the Forest of Ardennes.

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