Seeing double — Shakepeare’s ‘As You Like It’ features 2 casts playing same roles

Last week, the Antaeus Theatre Co. in Glendale opened its second major production, William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” at its new home in the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center.

The theater had been located in North Hollywood and moved into its new facility this past February.

The classic comedic play was directed by renowned Shakespeare specialist and actor Rob Clare. It features dual casts, where each character is played by two actors, performing on a rotating basis.

Sally Hughes and Julia Davis each play Rosalind, while Desiree Mee Jung and Abigail Marks share the role of Rosalind’s cousin Celia.

Love interest Orlando is played by Matthew Gallenstein during some performances and Daisuke Tsuji during others. The other love interest, Oliver, is played by Wayne T. Carr and Daniel Dorr.

Brian Abraham and John DeMita take on the role of Celia’s oppressive father, Duke Frederick, on an alternating basis.

“As You Like It” tells the story of Rosalind and Celia who flee their home in disguise — Rosalind as a young man and Celia as a country girl — to escape persecution by Celia’s father, who has banished Rosalind.

“It’s a funny play, but it’s also a play that becomes funnier as it goes on,” Clare said.

While “As You Like It” has some darker moments in the beginning, it lightens up once Rosalind and Celia venture out into the Forest of Arden and discover love — one with Orlando, the other with Oliver.

Although Clare is no stranger to productions of “As you Like It,” having previously staged it both stateside and overseas, this is the first time he’s worked with the partner-cast process.

“The partner casting made it a more interesting experience,” Clare said. “My challenge was to fashion a production that could embrace both actors in any given role so that they could interchange within it and, at the same time, respect and be responsive to their individual creative energies.”

The nature of a partner cast also meant there were two opening nights, one for each cast, on July 27 and 28, respectively.

This is also Clare’s first time directing in Glendale, but he said he’s enjoyed the experience and will miss the “little Armenian coffee shop on Maryland Street” as well as the brief commute from his home in Pasadena.

“I’ve had a lovely time, and I hope it won’t be my last experience working in Glendale,” he said.

“As You Like It” will run through Sept. 10 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway, Glendale.

For information about prices and performance dates, visit antaeus.org.

jeff.landa@latimes.com

Twitter: @JeffLanda

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