Merced Shakespearefest opened its production of the classic “As You Like It” at Applegate Park’s MOAT stage last weekend.
The free Shakespeare in the Park event began at 10 a.m. on Saturday as fans of the bard gathered to take in the local production that centers on Rosalind, played by Briana Garcia, who flees to the countryside to escape persecution in her uncle’s royal court. As she finds safety in her new location, she meets an assortment of new and interesting people, and perhaps even finds love.
Rosalind is accompanied by her cousin Celia, played by Sheila Correa, in the Forest of Arden. In the forest the duo comes across a number of unique characters as they look for safety and find love.
Chief among their encounters is the traveler Jaques, played by Michael Abruzzo. Fans of Shakespeare will pick up on a variety of the many famous speeches that are brought to the stage by Jaques from throughout the performance.
Rosalind, of course, also makes contact with the romantic lead opposite of her in the performance, Orlando, played by Jeffry Jackson. While the fated lovers were both drawn to each other upon first sight, the circumstances in which they find themselves proves to be a comedic start for their relationship. As the performances progresses, they none the less find themselves reaching for happiness with one another.
Friends and families who missed the first weekend showing still have another chance to catch a live performance of “As You Like It” this weekend, with evening performances on June 24 and June 25 at 6 p.m., and a morning performance at 10 a.m. on June 24. Residents are encouraged to bring snacks, chairs, and blankets for their comfort as they join other patrons in the park. The show runs for approximately an hour and 45 minutes.
David Hambley — Duke Frederick
Heike Hambley — Duchess Frederica/Duchess in Exile
Briana Garcia — Rosalind, daughter to Duchess in Exile
Sheila Correa — Celia, daughter to Frederica
Justin Ledezma — Touchstone, the court jester
Ana Yajaira Sanchez — La Belle, Lady at court/ Goddess Hymen
Jeffry Jackson — Orlando, a young noble
Matthew Rivera — Oliver, his older brother
Jacob Garcia — Charles, the wrestler/William
Sandra Hay — Eve, Orlando’s servant
Michael Abruzzo — Jaques, a lord to Duchess in Exile
Niara Jones — Lady Amiens, singer to Duchess in Exile
Heather Simmons — Lady 1 to Duchess i.E.
Tess Barklay — Lady 2 to Duchess i.E
Davin Soehnen — Corin, a shepherd
Cheney Mc Gee — Silvius, a shepherd in love with Phoebe
Alyssa McCabe — Phoebe, a young shepherdess
Robyn Swain — Audrey, a country wench