This version of As You Like It is remarkable in many ways. It offers a gorgeous and contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s works, and it presents some of the loveliest new music to enter the musical theater canon in recent years.
We chose this show, however, because of its beautiful message of community. In this telling of the tale, people from a variety of places have sought refuge in the Forest of Arden, which is presented as a place where people can learn how to rebuild their worlds. The Forest provides everything for them, including a space to heal old wounds. Yes, it is a comedy, and yes, it is very charming and funny, but there are others layers to examine.
At Marist, we are participating in a school-wide conversation about refugees, and this show is an excellent example of how the theater can speak to larger ideas and be a place to explore themes central to our identity as a community. How fascinating that a play written more than 400 years ago can still have such relevance in the 21st century.
Dr. Kathryn Hamrlik, Chair of the Marist Theology Department, explains further:
Welcoming the stranger – the immigrant and refugee among us – is a central teaching of the Catholic tradition. Hospitality, inclusiveness and ardent love of neighbor are part of what it means to be Marist.