What you see here is a picture from Shakespeare’s As You Like It performance we went to see a couple of days ago. Here, at Wadham College (Oxford) we watched it in the open air similarly to the Globe which adds some extra charm to it. An interesting detail to mention in passing is that as you can imagine outdoor performances are only possible in good weather; otherwise they can be cancelled, and you will be offered to attend another performance when the weather is good. We were lucky then that that day there was no rain.
What I liked about the performance is that the space where it was staged was used very wisely, and a couple of scenes were performed in the towers of this building adding to the impact the performance had on the audience. I think it helps to involve the audience more and make it feel closer with the personages. On several occasions, the actors also used the space between the rows of seats to act out the play which too helped to involve the audience more in what was going on on stage.
I liked the performance quite a bit but felt that it was somewhat difficult for me to enjoy it fully because of some difficulties with comprehending Shakespeare’s language. So the next day I decided that it’d be good to read something about Shakespear’s language and reread some of his plays in English to make it easier for me to understand them if/when I have a chance to see them again. Quite unexpectedly I ran into a book Shakespeare on Toast written by Ben Crystall which I found very helpful for a better understanding of the times and the context in which Shakespeare’s works were written. Also, the book is quite revealing as to what to do to make them easier to fully appreciate for a modern reader.
All together, going to see As You Like It was a good experience with a learning moment too. I am going to reread some of Shakespeare’s plays and learn more about his times so that the next time I could enjoy watching his plays even more.