Members of Washington D.C.'s The Shakespeare Theatre are readying their third production of the season, Shakespeare's As You Like It, starring Kelly McGillis and directed by British director, Laurence Boswell. As You Like It runs Feb. 11-Apr. 6.
"I'm interested in the notion of power in this play. It's interesting to be putting on this play about power in Washington," said Boswell, who recently arrived from London where his production of Beauty and the Beast was staged at the Young Vic. As You Like It marks Boswell's American debut.
Boswell, as former associate and then artistic director of London's Gate Theatre from 1990-95, is responsible for introducing the "Golden Age of Spain" to British audiences, with his Olivier Award winning "Spanish Golden Age Season" at the Gate. That season included his own translated productions of Lope de Vega's The Gentlemen From Olmedo and The Great Pretenders.
Boswell will return to London post haste to revive his acclaimed production of Ben Elton's Popcorn, originally produced in Nottingham, now scheduled for a West End run.
Boswell compares As You Like It's leading character Rosalind to other strong Shakespearean females, such as Kate in Taming of the Shrew and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. He says, "They're women who want to test their power, test the boundaries of what it means to be a woman in marriage before they'll agree to it. Rosalind fears she's got to lose a certain amount of power to go into a relationship with a man." Sounds like a role made for McGillis, an actress known for her portrayal of strong women in films such as Witness, The Accused and soon to be seen in the upcoming indie feature, Prairie Doves. Painting a streak of Shakespearean comedic roles, McGillis appeared last season at the Shakespeare Theatre as Helena in All's Well that Ends' Well and Isabella in Measure for Measure.
In the midst of the run, McGillis will begin rehearsals for the final production of The Shakespeare Theatre's season, Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra, which hasn't been professionally produced in Washington D.C. Since 1932.
On March 18, audiences are invited to meet the cast of Mourning...Electra, including Kelly McGillis and Ted van Griethuysen. The Shakespeare Theatre artistic director Michael Kahn will discuss his ideas about the production, which he will be directing. For information on "Meet the Cast"Call Megan Richardson (202) 547-3230, ext. 3127.
For tickets or for more information, please refer to the The Shakespeare Theatre regional listing on Playbill On-Line.
--By Blair Glaser