By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca
“Thus we may see … how the world wags.” — William Shakespeare, As You Like It, II, vii
It’s bold. It’s ballsy, a genuinely provocative theatre experiment. And — here’s a 100 per cent guarantee — you WILL be discussing it after the curtain comes down. Really, you can’t not.
That’s Cliff Cardinal’s new play As You Like It, A Radical Retelling, the show Theatre Network has chosen to open the beautiful, long-awaited new Roxy on 124th Street. It’s a gutsy way to start this new era for the company.
Live theatre regularly makes claims to being surprising and risk-embracing: the Indigenous playwright provocateur Cardinal, a mischief-maker of serious intent, brings it. To theatre, to the rituals of theatre-going, to the cultural trappings and infrastructure that support it.
Since the experience is built on surprise, I can’t tell you very much about the Crow’s Theatre production that’s arrived from Toronto on the Roxy’s new Nancy Power mainstage. It is indeed a “radical retelling,” unforgettably so, and the Nancy Power is equipped for the occasion with a red velvet curtain. That’s it. Nearly everything else, including revealing the cast in advance, would count as a spoiler.
Whatever you think — and I’m imagining theatre-goers will be divided, judging by Saturday night’s audience — you’ll think. The “radical retelling” has big questions for you (and it’s gripping from beginning to end). Isn’t that what live theatre is for?
As You Like It, A Radical Retelling
Written by: Cliff Cardinal
Starring: cast will be announced at every performance
Where: Theatre Network, the new Roxy, 10708 124th St.
Running: through May 15
Tickets: theatre network.ca