As You Like It

by William Shakespeare

2014, Webber Douglas Studio, Central

Directed by Ben Naylor with Anna Healey

Set and costume design by Nadege Adlam, Lighting by Ed McKay, Music and sound by Paul Sartin and Luke Pajak, Fight direction by Rachel Bown-Williams

This playful, in-the-round production of Shakespeare’s comedy was a blast to make. We used an eclectic setting, with the Court scenes drawing inspiration from Fight Club, and Arden harking back to an age of innocence with Edwardian costumes (perhaps the last historical period we can associate with a prelapsarian state). The actors played a variety of flora and fauna – trees, deer, sheep and a dog – as well as their primary roles; and in keeping with the play’s dizzying bending of gender, in Arden most characters were played by actors of the opposite sex. Hard-edged digital rave-core music and sound in Court gave way to traditional folk performed live and acoustically in Arden, with a disco-twist at the end; what else for a play that’s primarily designed to make the audience feel good when they leave the theatre?

Photography by Patrick Baldwin