As You Like It at Open Book

Paula Keller

Mistaken identity lies at the core of Shakespeare's comedy, where a change of dress and manner so transforms Rosalind into Ganymede that her love Orlando doesn't recognize her. Leave it to Ten Thousand Things to push that sensation to the max, as six actors play nearly two dozen roles in Lear de Bessonet's quick-paced creation that not only wrestles plenty of laughs from the play but also gets to its deep heart. Rosalind (Maggie Chestovich) and best friend Celia (Aimee Bryant) head into exile ahead of the machinations of an evil duke (Bradley Greenwald, also playing a good duke in exile and others). Randy Reyes brings intense passion to Orlando, whose decision to decorate the trees of the forest with missives to his love Rosalind comes as much from his anger at losing his longtime servant as boyhood passion. All this gives the courting between Reyes and Chestovich a tremendous edge, as both are really hunting—and finding—something deeper than puppy love. The whole forest of Arden comes to life with just a few skeletal steel objects that represent trees or a pregnant cow. All of this calls for some quick changes, with Bradley Greenwald and Kimberly Richardson making deft switches onstage in a neat piece of low-tech theater magic.

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