Under director Stephanie Smith’s conceptualization, disguise will be taken further in Shakespeare Chattanooga’s reading of the play As You Like It at the Highland Center on June 25.
“People sometimes find it difficult to follow the through-line of this story because of all the disguises characters put on," said Ms. Smith. "In our reading, there’s a lot of genderbending of characters and almost every actor plays multiple parts. Cross-dressing is essentially what allows Shakespeare to get lovers together—characters are able to say how they feel because they are bolder when they are in disguise. Since we do very little in the way of costuming, it falls on the talent of the actors to show the audience their characters—though we do have one or two tricks up our sleeves."
The cast includes Dakota Brown, Katie Campassi, Maria Chattin-Carter, Jim Eernisse, John Essex, Steven LaMar, Joanna Lewis, Greg Rambin, Bob Roza, Naomi Griffin Self, Kelly Warren and Ms. Smith.
The success of Shakespeare Chattanooga's first series of three readings inspired the company to schedule three more for the summer. As You Like It will be followed by Two Gentlemen of Verona (directed by Janis Hashe) in July, and Cymbeline (directed by Ms. Smith) in August.
The company is involved in the restoration effort at the Highland Center, which includes the Band Room, where the reading series is being performed, and the auditorium, which, says Ms. Hashe, “has the potential to become a true performance gem in the heart of Brainerd.”
The Highland Center, now the permanent home of Shakespeare Chattanooga, is located in the former 21st Century Academy magnet school; prior to that, the building was Brainerd Junior High. It is now privately owned and more and more community programming is being made possible there.
The reading will be held on Thursday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m. The suggested donation is $5.
For more information, contact Ms. Hashe at 622-2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.