Young Company performs Shakespeare classic with an ’80s twist

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BYU’s Young Company is performing Shakespeare’s classic tale, “As You Like It” with an ’80s twist, running until Feb. 19.

“As You Like It” is a comedic play originally written by William Shakespeare. Director Tony Gunn added an ’80s era-style to Shakespeare’s love story of main characters Rosalind and Orlando.

BYU student Eden Allen plays Rosalind, a young woman whose romance gets complex because of the rare circumstances she is in.

“Rosalind finds herself in a hard situation so she writes her own story,” Allen said. “When kids see the show, I want them to realize, they can write their own story too.”

After being banished to the forest, Rosalind disguises herself as a boy for the sake of her safety. The plot thickens when unrecognizable Rosalind encounters her love interest.

Cast members of “As You Like It,” Parley Lambert and Eden Allen take on the roles of the main love interests. (Courtesy of Nate Edwards, BYU Photo)

Allen’s character’s love interest, Orlando, is played by Parley Lambert, a sophomore in the acting program.

“Orlando is a good guy who wants to do the right thing, maybe he’s read a few too many romance stories but he wants life to be what it could be,” Lambert said.

From left, Eden Allen, Alexa Sandberg and Parley Lambert perform Shakespeare’s comedy, “As You Like It.” (Courtesy of Nate Edwards, BYU Photo)

Romance is accompanied by comedy, as the cast uses ’80s music and wardrobe within the performance.

Gunn said he chose to include the flare of ’80s pop to add fun energy to the show. Gunn found inspiration for the style and design of the production in the Prince music video, “Raspberry Beret.”

“‘Raspberry Beret’ video seemed a good match for ‘As You Like It’ in that there were definite masculine and feminine characters in the costumes,” Gunn said.

The comedy caters to audiences of all ages, he said. Unexpected twists within the plot are meant to captivate the audience.

“I really liked the show, it kept me guessing. It was a good combination of drama and comedy,” BYU student Sophie Drake said.

Audience member Spencer Packer said he never imagined Shakespeare to be as funny as the show was. “The show was definitely a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be.”

Lambert said although he recognizes the heavy use of comedy in the show, he felt love was greatly represented through the whole performance.

“Even though the show is funny and convoluted in the ways things play out, I think it does a great job of showing that at the end of the day, love triumphs,” Lambert said. “Love is one of the most powerful forces in the universe.”

Cast members said they hope the audience will get that same feeling of amazement and enjoyment that they do through their performance.

Because of BYU’s COVID-19 policy, proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is necessary to attend the performance. “As You Like It” tickets are available for purchase online.

Actor Parley Lambert as Orlando in the romance comedy, “As You Like It.” Lambert said he finds the performance to accentuate the power of love. (Courtesy of Nate Edwards, BYU Photo)

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