Play, parts and players
in As You Like It
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The Folio As You Like It is a document whose relation to original conditions and circumstances of performance within, possibly, at least three settings - court, public playhouse, private theatre - is at best uncertain. It offers some violent physical action, a sharp-witted clown with one foot firmly in the playhouse, a good deal of singing, and the recycling of a number of devices used by Shakespeare in previous romantic comedies. These include a structural division between court and country, a green world, and, driving the play's action, a voluble, witty and resourceful cross-dressed heroine. This chapter considers how the task might have been carried out within the frameworks of rehearsal and repertory. In order to situate Rosalind's role within the larger part-based ecology of playhouse rehearsal and performance practice, one needs to acknowledge the broader early modern context of part-based playmaking.

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