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Reviewed by:
  • As You Like It, and: Measure for Measure, and: The Tempest
  • Steve Mentz
As You Like It Presented by The Bridge Project at the BAM Harvey Theater, Brooklyn, New York. January 12–March 13, 2010. Directed by Sam Mendes. Associate Director Gaye Taylor Upchurch. Production Manager Dominic Fraser. Associate Sound Designer Jeremy Lee. Assistant Costume Designer Nicole Moody. With Christian Camargo (Orlando), Alvin Epstein (Adam), Edward Bennett (Oliver), Juliet Rylance (Rosalind), Michelle Beck (Celia), Thomas Sadoski (Touchstone), Jonathan Lincoln Fried (Le Beau), Michael Thomas (Duke Frederick & Duke Senior), Anthony O'Donnell (Corin), Aaron Krohn (Silvius), Stephan Dillane (Jaques), Jenni Barber (Audrey), Alvin Epstein (Sir Oliver Martext), Ashlie Atkinson (Phoebe), and others.
Measure for Measure Presented by Theatre for a New Audience at The Duke on 42nd Street, New York, New York. February 6–March 14, 2010. Directed by Arin Arbus. Scenic designer Peter Ksander. Costume designer David Zinn. Lighting Designer Marcus Doshi. Sound designer Jane Shaw. Composer Sarah Pickett. With Jefferson Mays (Vincentio), Robert Langdon Lloyd (Escalus), Rocco Sisto (Angelo), Alfredo Narciso (Lucio), Elisabeth Waterson (Isabella), John Keating (Pompey), Mary Testa (Mistress Overdone), Samara Bay (Kate Keepdown), LeRoy McClain (Claudio), Graham Winton (Provost), Rose Seccareccia (Juliet), Denis Butkus (Friar Peter), Alyssa Bresnahan (Francisca), John Christopher Jones (Elbow), Alyssa Bresnahan (Mariana), Mary Testa (Attendant), John Christopher Jones (Abhorson), Joe Forbrich (Bernadine), and others.
The Tempest Presented by The Bridge Project at the BAM Harvey Theater, Brooklyn, New York. February 14–March 13, 2010. Directed by Sam Mendes. Associate Director Gaye Taylor Upchurch. US Press Agent Boneau Bryan Brown. Dialect coach Deborah Hecht. Associate Lighting Designer Dan Large. Associate [End Page 502] Sound Designer Jeremy Lee. With Stephan Dillane (Prospero), Christian Camargo (Ariel), Ron Cephas Jones (Caliban), Jonathan Lincoln Fried (Alonso), Alvin Epstein (Gonzalo), Richard Hansell (Sebastian), Michael Thomas (Antonio), Juliet Rylance (Miranda), Edward Bennett (Ferdinand), Anthony O'Donnell (Trinculo), Thomas Sadoski (Stephano), Michelle Beck (Iris), Jenni Barber (Ceres), Ashlie Atkinson (Juno), and others.

The British actor was tall, with a charismatic smile, a natty striped suit, and impeccable diction. He towered over the shorter American, whose untucked shirt and ragged hair seemed a proxy for the untidy rhythm of his syllables. The first scene was largely expository, with lots of back-story about dead fathers, wills, and usurpation. Both characters wanted the father's legacy. I don't think it was intentional, but as I watched Edward Bennett's brilliant performance as the sinister cad Oliver alongside Christian Camargo's downtrodden Orlando, I could not help but see a representation of the Anglo-American makeup of the Bridge Project. The company's raison d'etre is to bring together Shakespearean actors from both sides of the Atlantic. The collaborations have produced some fine productions, including this one, but at times the casting has also reified existing national types, so that the Brits appeared all polish and the Americans too much in love with their own scrappiness. Bennett's Oliver shone forth, easy and seductive. Camargo's Orlando was petulant, violent, badly dressed, and eventually carried the day. Can you guess which one was the American?

The oddness and aptness of that brief scene aside, the Bridge Project's As You Like It, while not as strong as the Tempest with which it played in rep, had some wonderful ensemble features. Bennett's Oliver was a standout in a minor part, and Stephen Dillane's Jaques added depth and gravity to the play, though he seemed not to have the faintest idea what to make of Rosalind when he encountered her in 3.2. Both Bennett and Dillane also continued a Bridge Project tradition that Ethan Hawke's Autolycus inaugurated: adding Bob Dylan parodies to Shakespeare. Dillane crooned "Ducdame" (2.5) in full Dylan mode, and Bennett later transformed his matter-of-fact lines, "Say with me, I love Aliena …" (5.2), with a smoothed-out version of the folk-rock troubadour's signature rasp. Their two performances, as well as Alvin Epstein's moving portrait of Adam, who expired at the end of the first interval after being fed one last meal at the old Duke's forest encampment, kept a sometimes rambling production focused. The wintry set...


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