“As You Like It”: A Shakespearean Show


Katharine Manson

Shakespeare comedy “As You Like it” pushes the boundaries of Broken Box and its student production to new heights with its unique premise and complex narrative.

Oftentimes, when people think of Shakespeare, they imagine a squire dramatically reading a convoluted script with English so old it sounds almost nonsensical. And along with that image comes the word perhaps most commonly associated with Shakespeare: it’s boring.

Theater directors know this, which is why Los Altos High School Broken Box doesn’t often perform Shakespeare. Yet this year, Broken Box is taking a massive leap by putting on “As You Like It,” a less conventional play, and breathing life into its little-understood, wacky and whimsical world.

“There are so many different aspects to it — there’s a whole evil villain plotline, stage combat and something like four love stories happening all at once,” sophomore and Broken Box sound designer Nathan Coleman said.

Hard at work, performers have spent time not only during three weeks of winter break but also around a month at school memorizing lines and running through the play. Even though it’s tough, members find themselves enjoying the creative process as they discover that there’s more to Shakespeare than just memorization and interpretation — there’s individualism.

It’s the biggest show I’ve ever seen Broken Box put on.

— Stormalong Lunt

“It gives everyone the opportunity to showcase their talents because, with Shakespeare, there’s a little more leeway for self-interpretation,” sophomore Audrey Jamieson said.

There are a number of side projects that Broken Box members have immersed themselves into, stretching their creativity to the limit and giving them the opportunity to express themselves. From integrating student-made flying pieces and animation to performing original music composed specifically for this show, Broken Box members have been able to express their creative passions through theater.

“This is a mixed-media performance, one of the first ever in Broken Box history,” senior Stormalong Lunt said. “We have singing, we have acting, we have animation. It’s the biggest show I’ve ever seen Broken Box put on.”

Broken Box has been working since the last production to put on a memorable performance. Even as the students are creating, they also have to keep audience comprehension in mind.

Shakespeare can be daunting for the average viewer due to its complex nature. That’s why Broken Box has been focusing on paring down the complicated text, making it more intelligible and enjoyable for the general public.

“Shakespeare is notorious for being a little more challenging to understand,” Audrey said. “But what’s been so interesting about the process is being able to hash out all the lines and really getting to truly understand them and then performing them in a way that’s accessible for everyone.”

That’s not to say that learning the older text has been easy for Broken Box themselves, though.

“The majority of us have never performed Shakespeare before, so memorizing these lines is so much more difficult than anything I’ve ever tried to memorize before,” senior Logan Kim said.

At the same time, the actors and directors are also working hard to recreate the infamous fight scene in As You Like It. Theater facilities coordinator Myles Rowland choreographed the stage combat, adding a whole other dimension to the already magical experience. Logan and senior Gareth Cartier have been working with Rowland to rehearse the fight choreography.

“I know it’s safe, and I know what’s going on and that I’m totally in control, but every single time we run it, my heart beats so fast,” Logan said. “And it really feels like wow, this is really happening.”

With all its unique features that set it apart from past productions, this show is truly going to be a one-of-a-kind LAHS production. Even amidst the barriers of a complex text, lots to create and much to memorize, Broken Box is up for the challenge.

As theater director Lisa Battle put it: “Sorry Shakespeare, but you can’t stop me.”

The show will be performed from Thursday, February 2nd to Saturday, February 4th. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the finance office, from a Broken Box member, or at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are free for all staff.