By David Walters

This is not a review.

At least any kind of review that you’re used to seeing. And As You Like It, A Radical Retelling by Cliff Cardinal now playing at NYU’s Skirball Theater for two nights only, January 12th and 13th, is unlike any other play you will see this year, and probably for many years to come.

I’ve been sworn to secrecy and taken an oath of silence not reveal the interpolation that is As You Like It, A Radical Retelling. For me to reveal anything about the show would be to take away from the experience you would have should your interest be piqued and you invest your time and money to see what this show/experience is about. I can’t tell you who’s in it, what characters they play, or anything about the set and costumes. I can’t even tell you what it’s not, as that would itself reveal too much. Suffice it to say there’s nothing like this currently playing on the boards in any theater anywhere. Funny, challenging, and completely thought provoking.

Shakespeare‘s play As You Like It is heralded by some and bemoaned by others as pandering to the masses, despite containing one of his most oft quoted lines, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” George Bernard Shaw‘s opinion of the play and its prolonged role reversals and subterfuge was that Shakespeare wrote it strictly as an audience pleaser and ended up calling it, As YOU Like It to suggest that the play was meant to give the groundlings what they wanted. This viewpoint, though flipped, may lend itself to As You Like It, A Radical Retelling

Playwright Cliff Cardinal is of the Lakota Sioux heritage, born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and his upbringing informs all of his work. His mother, actress Tantoo Cardinal, moved between Canada and the United States pursuing work and Cliff was introduced to the business through her.

Alright, I will give you this to chew on, playwright Cliff Cardinal expects a lot from his audience.

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Presented in collaboration with Crow’s Theatre in Toronto and Under the Radar 2024, Mark Russell, Festival Director & ArKtype, Festival Producer. More information at utrfest.org

If this review piqued your interest, you might also be piqued by one of the following reviews on The Front Row Center: South, for all the women who thought they were Mad, and Passage.