William Land Park Stage is a venue that the great William Shakespeare himself would certainly approve of. It is also a safe bet that he would find Shakespeare in the Park’s presentation of As You Like It highly entertaining. Tonight is your last chance to see the great show before it, much like the author of the play, exists only in the mind.
For those unfamiliar with Sacramento’s Land Park, it is the centerpiece of a region that has maintained its economic health and cultural integrity in the wake of massive budgetary cutbacks. Inside the fencing surrounding the stage is a magical slice of art and entertainment, as epic words penned more than 400 years ago merge with helicopters that occasionally fly overhead, annoying some while reminding others of the beauty in the convergence of past and present.
Director David Harris has gathered a very talented cast and skilfully utilized their individual strengths. Jenna Marie Cedusky brings Rosalind to life in a way that blends the overt passion and sinister intentions of the 1970s with the original brilliance of the cross-dressing character. George Hardin Schau’s vivacious and versatile interpretation of Touchstone deserves to be witnessed by The Bard himself. Both actors have a firm grip on the tenants of physical comedy, seemingly getting laughs at will during their extensive time on stage.
Too many solid performances are turned it to list, but the wise and witty observations of Luther Hansen’s Jaques and the theatrical flexibility of the youthful and effervecent Shanna Lyn Sperry as Corin the elderly shepherd are especially impressive. Jacob Vusekenic’s hair-on-fire rendition of Silvius, the lovesprung shepheard’s apprentice, garners the attention of the geese bathing in the nearby pond. Tiny dynamo Ian McGlone has put together an original score that merges perfectly with the pentameter of the play.
The energetic and colorful performance justifies its 170-minute length. Patrons who have access to a time machine can use it to tool around in the late 16th century during the nearly 30-minute intermission, but the action that bookends the break is worth far more than the price of admission. If you are looking for something to do on a mild summer Sunday evening, this is it.