Mexican Director Mauricio García Lozano created the company “El Teatro del Farfullero” in order to provide young actors with early opportunities at highly quality, professional stage work. As You Like It was their project for late 2001 and early 2002.
Five panels as a backdrop compose the simple, monochromatic, glum, and metallic scenery at starting. When Rosalind and Celia abandon the palace, the panels twist in order to transform into curved ramps that recreate the Forest of Arden—a strangely lively place, darkly so.
When the girls come up with their plan and strip their courtly clothes, they discard their identities in the process. Matte fabrics and color disappear from their clothes as they adopt the metallic, minimalist gold costume of the inhabitants of the forest—clearly inspired by the designs of Gustav Klimt. All actors wear the same fundamental wardrobe, which, nonetheless, features several pieces that may be quickly, and significantly, reorganized. The homogenous costume is highly functional; the corset, pants, vest and sleeve are flexible pieces that can be taken off, rolled over, tied differently to change purposes and produce different looks. Without distinctions of sex, age or shape, all nine actors take turns to play every role in Shakespeare’s play—i.e. the roles flow from one to another without limits of age, class or gender, although in the end, every major role flows back to the actor who played it first. The arrangement of the garments distinguishes which character the actor is playing at any given moment: for instance, the presence of Rosalind’s chain identifies Orlando’s neck, and hence Orlando, who is also and at the same time characterized by his specifically muscular, deliberately “manly” body language—and so goes for the rest of the parts. On the other hand, putting on the sleeve a certain way may create Rosalind’s one-shouldered dress, while a second later the same sleeve on the head the fool stands for his hat, and hence, prompts recognizing Touchstone and his also deliberately “obvious” body language. This is quite a tour de force, but it never confusing to the spectator.
These tokens emphasize the power of disguise, enhancing the confusion in the play and complicating the questions Ganymede’s disguise throws over gender. Apart from the clothes, each character makes a bold, distinctive gesture. These corporal cues show the body as a costume in itself: a finger held up to the mouth for Celia/Aliena, weight thrown back for Duke Senior, hands on the hip for Phoebe… The constant exchange of roles emphasizes the lack of a concrete individuality and the fluid quality of identity. This attention to the body also highlights sensuality.
The actors constantly dance to live music influenced both by Medieval and Renaissance styles; characters meetings develop through these choreographies. Songs add to the pastoral and festive mood of the forest. Most choreography plays with the double, the triple and the crowd; men and women enjoy mirroring each other. The interaction of homosexual and heterosexual couples turns the production into a kaleidoscope in which the audience is forced to reevaluate the concept of identity, love, sexuality and gender. In the end, the wedded couples dissolve and each player turns back to the early part but also to a new fancy, demonstrating that nothing is fixed.
Director: Mauricio García Lozano
Play: As You Like It
Venue: Teatro El Granero, Centro Cultural del Bosque; Mexico City, Mexico
Direction: Mauricio García Lozano
Adaptation: José Ramón Enríquez (from undisclosed translation)
Music: Horacio Uribe
Coregraphy: Juan Carlos Vives
Set Design: Jorge Ballina
Costume Design: Jerildy Bosch
Lighting Design: Víctor Zapatero
Miguel Ángel Barrera
Yuriria del Valle
Bozens Slawinska and Ina Velasco- cello
Season: December 10, 2001 to February 3, 2002
La Jornada, several reviews:
Part I http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2002/04/21/sem-columnas.html
Part II http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2002/05/05/sem-columnas.html