The Davis Arts Council is exploring the potentially hilarious pitfalls of love in their production of “As You Like It,” running now through Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. at the Ed Kenley Amphitheater in Layton. The show, one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, traces the trouble that follows several romances as they try to sort out misunderstandings and mistaken identities.
“The ridiculous things that love and passion makes us do is so universal,” said Kirt Bateman, executive director of the Davis Arts Council. “No matter who you are, you can laugh at it.”
While that accessibility is one of the reasons Bateman thinks “As You Like It” remains so popular, he also feels that the show’s leading lady has something to do with it.
“I think it has the smartest female character in the Shakespeare canon,” he said. “Rosalind is such a juicy role.”
Mark Fossen, who also directed last year’s Shakespeare in the Park production of “Romeo and Juliet,” used a streamlined version of the play he cut down himself.
“It’s a great cutting,” said Bateman, who has spent several years as an actor himself. “Most directors do that so you’re not left with a four-hour long show."
Unlike some recent productions of Shakespeare, however, the show isn’t tied to a specific time period.
“It’s kind of an everyman era,” said Bateman.
Though the arts council’s “Shakespeare in the Park” is now in its third year, it is the first that students 18 and under will be able to see the show for free thanks to a grant from the county. All other tickets are $5 each, no matter their seating location.
“We wanted to make it even more accessible,” said Bateman. “I heard from one teacher who plans on bringing her whole class.”
Beyond that, the program remains committed to its original goal of giving both audiences and performers the chance to enjoy a little more Shakespeare.
“There’s always a musical to audition for, but some of the performers in our community aren’t singers,” said Bateman. “This gives them a chance to dive into the classics.”