'As You Like It'

Mariah Palmer stars as Rosalind, the disguised heroine, in Keene State College’s production of “As You Like It.”

KEENE — Audiences in Shakespeare’s time tended to a bawdy lot, but things have changed a bit since his company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, first performed the comedy “As You Like It” in 1599.

In the 16th century, the Bard used the play to dispense social commentary in a way that escaped censorship and entertained audiences. The play departed from the customary drama of the period in England, and reportedly provided a jolt of realism rarely seen by Elizabethan audiences.

“Theater audiences today are very different from the rowdy attendees in 1599,” said Jeannie-Marie Brown, Keene State College assistant theater professor, who is directing a production of “As You Like It” on campus Nov. 13-16. Still, she said she found “parallels between our present world, the period in which the play was written, and the early 1970s.”

The KSC Department of Theatre and Dance’s show has set Shakespeare’s tale of romance, family squabbles and secret identities into that groovy decade of love and expression.

“With this production of ‘As You Like It,’ we are exploring the idea of spectacle, theatricality, and what it really means if “All the world’s a stage,” Brown said.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, through Sunday, Nov. 16, at the Redfern Arts Center. Also, a 9:30 a.m. show is set for Friday, Nov. 15. Tickets are $6-$12. For details, call 358-2168 or order online at keene.edu/arts/redfern. For more information, call 358-2162.