One of Shakespeare's best-known works is also one with some of the most familiar quotes, spoken ironically by one of the Bard's least lovable characters. It is the sourpuss Jaques who has some of the greatest lines in all of Shakespeare, including the famous "seven ages of man" speech.
"As You Like It" is coming to the Douglass Theatre on Sunday in an HD telecast from Britain's National Theatre. Like several Shakespearean comedies, "As You Like It" is rife with corrupt dukes and lovers -- some cross-dressed and most hiding in the Forest of Arden.
Polly Findlay is the director, but the reviews of the current production devote almost as much space to the unusual set as to the performances. One critic calls the Lizzie Clachan set a "cross between a command-centre and a holiday camp."
"Pastoral" perhaps but of an unusual sort. I should mention, too, that the cast is in modern dress, with Rosalie Craig in the role of Rosalind and Joe Bannister as the object of her affections, Orlando.
While the costumes may be contemporary, the plot is pure Shakespeare with its familiar comedic devices: mistaken identity, evil dukes, lovers in disguise. To set up the love story, the wicked duke Frederick has usurped the kingdom of his brother, Senior, whose daughter, Rosalind, is initially permitted to remain at court because of her friendship with Frederick's daughter Celia.
Ultimately, however, the two young women flee, with Rosalind now disguised as Ganymede. Also found in the forest are the glum Jacques and other pairs of lovers, not to mention Orlando.
All eventually comes right, but not before four couples marry and Jacques delivers his "seven ages" monologue: "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players ..."
To Macon's great credit, the Douglass is one of only two theaters in Georgia -- and one of only a handful in the entire Southeast -- that host these productions from the banks of the Thames River.
NT Live: "As You Like It"
When: 3 p.m. Feb. 28
Where: Douglass Theatre, 355 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Cost: $20 adults, $15 students and seniors