Ellen Adair* as Rosalind and Anna O'Donoghue* as Celia
As You Like It
April 2014, TheaterLab on W. 36th St.
Seven actors. One Shakespearean comedy. A celebration of what transformation means to us now.
Set in a contemporary world, this production takes a fun, fresh look at Shakespeare’s timeless comedy about love, transformation and the roles we play. Rosalind, the daughter of an exiled Duke, falls in love with Orlando, who is downtrodden by his elder brother. The two separately flee the watchful, media-saturated world of the court, seeking refuge in the Forest of Arden. But when Rosalind, now dressed as a man to protect herself and her cousin Celia, bumps into Orlando, their courtship becomes a game that subverts traditional romance.
An ensemble of seven actors explores this vibrant story of power, freedom, rural and urban communities and intersecting sets of lovers—with more than one gender-bending twist! The production uses video and live original music, both to explore what is changeless and what is contemporary in how we tell stories, and to provide a thoroughly entertaining evening for audiences of all kinds.
Happy, As We Like It Review in Clarion
Alexandra Kaplan | April 2014
"Imagine--a play that leaves you happy! ... As You Like It is through and through a happy play, and the players of Happy Few Theatre Company seem to know there is no better way to put up a show than to keep faith with its essential character. Thus we are much pleased with this modern-setting version of Shakespeare's most gender-bending play.
"...In this hearty contemporary take, the characters are recognizably modern: they use computers and search desperately for cell reception as they travel through the Forest of Arden. ...The directors are keen on keeping the pace fast and fluid, and depend upon the cast to keep things moving. It is not set dressing and stage property, but the talented actors and actresses that make this a memorable show. Anna O'Donoghue as Celia makes Elizabethan dialogue startlingly familiar. Ellen Adair is all charm and chumminess in the role of Rosalind, playing a game partner-in-crime. Nat Cassidy's performance as hopeless Silvius is utter hilarity.
"The music-much of it original, and performed live-is fun and folksy, as well suits the goings-on. It too, was strangely familiar: as though it transcended time periods. Well, a good joke is timeless, as is a happy song and a wry line well delivered.
"An endearing chemistry emanates from this group of men and women. The genderless love shared among the characters is a thing of reality for this cast, even if it is a different sort of romance. Call it the romance of art, or maybe the romantic pleasure of being an emerging theater company, small but vibrant, in a bright big city.
"The little this play lacks in establishment polish and fluency, it makes up for in sheer warmth of spirit. The directors have kindled a glad fire in the heart of each of their players. If all the world is a stage, this is a happy corner of it."
"I had a horrid day and just wanted to go home, crawl under the floorboards and die, but I had a ticket to see a production of As You Like It and didn’t want to eat the $18, so off I went. ...And then that thing happened. That thing you can’t chase or anticipate. The thing that sneaks up on you and knocks you flat when you’re not looking.
"The Happy Few Theater Company, in their inaugural production, with a small budget and an overabundance of creativity, put on a gutsy, highly enjoyable As You Like It. What a relief! Each actor adroitly handled multiple roles (which, out of necessity, included cross-dressing and gender-swapping) and live musical accompaniment was provided by the cast, most of whom were accomplished musicians. As if wrangling Shakespearean dialogue for multiple characters weren’t difficult enough. In addition to co-directing, Ellen Adair made for a particularly effective Rosalind. Real tears when called for, which never fails to pull me in. The production was supplemented with effective, well-placed video clips, including an hilarious wrestling match between Charles the Wrestler and Orlando that’s played out as a WWE arena extravaganza.
"It’s a new company but it’s not amateur hour. They are all masters of their craft. I’ve always been too consumed with fear to chase the things that really matter me. When I see an acting troupe like this, I can’t help but wonder what’s burning inside them that makes them persevere, despite the long odds. They’re hot."
As You Like It' by Happy Few Theatre Company – And it was exactly as we liked it!
Review on Mom Thingz 16th April 2014
"The Happy Few Company are to be commended on this wonderful adaptation of 'As You Like It'. True to the script, they maximized a simple setting with a cast of only 7 and cleverly included modern images from trashy magazines to NY1 style interviews to unfold the background of the story, while using modern technology to portray the wrestling match (WWF style) to engage the audience from the oft.
"Ellen Adair’s talent as a director and lead made you fall in love with Rosalind, and the love scenes between Orlando (Patrick Mulryan) and Ganymede (Rosalind’s cross-dressing alter-ego) had real chemistry. Christopher Seiler “ridiculously happy to be working with the company” clearly demonstrated this joy as he switched effortlessly from the evil Duke Frederick to the charming Duke Senior, with a simple switch of coats, enamoring us and his ‘merry men’ in the Forest of Arden. Nat Cassidy, Eric Gilde (Artistic Director), the lovely and versatile Anna O’Donoghue all were more than ‘mere players’ and their ‘exits and entrances’ were spot on. And who could help but be tickled by the comedic and eccentric Alexander Sovronsky, who not only composed the original music, but hammed it up magnificently as Phebe!...
"Yes I’m gushing – but the whole cast brings alive the beauty of Shakespeare’s words with clarity and passion, and their inclusion of music and song within the performance keeps the audience propelled throughout with their talent. ...the Happy Few Company have made this production accessible and entertaining for all! Well done Happy Few! We look forward to seeing what else this new and exciting theatre company brings forth in the future!"