Robert Shaughnessy
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At all points like a man
in As You Like It
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This chapter focuses on two all-male versions of the play: Clifford Williams's for the National Theatre in 1967, and Declan Donnellan's for Cheek by Jowl in 1991 and 1994. If it goes without saying that As You Like It has, throughout its performance history, been implicated in questions of sexual and gender identity. These productions particularly foreground issues of transvestite masquerade and same-sex desire that the tradition of female Rosalinds has largely occluded. Reflecting on the production two decades after it was made, director Declan Donnellan recalled its historic and political context. For Donnellan, the central point was to invite the audience 'to tread a tightrope of willed belief, a quintessentially theatrical act of faith'. Inverting Brechtian logic, the director stated that [e]xposing the nuts and bolts of theatre actually makes you more involved in the play.

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