By TheatreWorks, opens Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, through Aug. 23, Rock Ledge Ranch, 3105 Gateway Road, off 30th Street across from Garden of the Gods, $35, $15 ages 15 and younger, free UCCS students, no kids under 5; 255-3232, theatreworkscs.org.
Everybody's a fool in love at some point. At least William Shakespeare seemed to think so.
TheatreWorks presents the bard's classic romantic comedy "As You Like It" in a comfortable tent in the great outdoors at Rock Ledge Ranch. It opens Thursday.
"I really like the message of the play," says director Joe Discher, who also directed 2013's "Red" and 2014's "The Weir" at TheatreWorks. "It's about love and all the foolish things we do when we're in love."
Rosalind (Mandy Olsen), the main character, is banished from her uncle's court and flees to the Forest of Arden disguised as a young boy. She meets Orlando (Shannon Michael Wamser), a young man who was also banished from court and who fell in love with Rosalind before he left. However, Orlando doesn't recognize her in her boyish disguise and the two develop a friendship.
"She's arguably the best, most well-rounded female character in the canon," says Mandy Olsen, who stars as Rosalind.
"She's smart, resourceful, a leader. She's realistic about love, but also very romantic. There's so many layers to this character."
Compared to Shakespeare's other comedies, "As You Like It" is the one that reportedly made his audiences uncomfortable, Olsen says.
"She falls in love at first sight with Orlando, but there's a realism to her and she knows that just because they get married, it doesn't mean it will necessarily last forever. She understands that just because you're young and in love, there's a lot more to a perfect union than physicality or young love."
The wit and wordplay of the show inspired Discher and the crew to develop a playful set.
"I decided it would serve the play to use the metaphor of a playground," he says. "We started with monkey bars, and built those into something a little larger, a jungle gym of sorts, and some ladders planted around it that function as trees."
The moral of the story is clear to Olsen.
"I hope people would take away that it's all worth it in the end," she says. "Even though you're putting yourself out there - each character who is in love is putting themselves on the line - it's worth it."
JENNIFER Mulson, THE GAZETTE, 636-0270, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Winnie the Pooh" - By Spotlight Community Theatre of Monument, 1:30 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday, First United Methodist Church, 420 N. Nevada Ave., $5-$8; 488-0775, spotlightcommunity theatre.com.