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HOPE YOU LIKE IT; STUDENTS BRING BARD'S COMEDY TO SIMI STAGE.

Byline: Angela Randazzo Daily News Staff Writer

For the student cast of ``As You Like It,'' the production of William Shakespeare's romp in a forest has been a very likable experience.

The play opened last weekend at Simi Valley High School's studio theater to sold-out audiences. It will be performed this weekend at 7 p.m. today, and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday.

``We started rehearsals in October and I kept telling the cast the magic would happen and it did,'' said Sharon Crane, drama coach and a ninth-grade English teacher at the school.

Crane first taught at Simi Valley High from 1980 to '86 and returned last year to teach performing arts. Her inspiration for selecting ``As You Like It'' for her students came out of a 1984 visit to Edinburgh, Scotland, where she saw the Royal Shakespeare Company perform the play.

``At the time, I was teaching drama at Simi High but there wasn't the group of students I thought could pull it off,'' said Crane.

Crane tucked the idea of staging ``As You Like It'' in the back of her mind until she began working with her current students. Some of the kids had previous experience tackling the Bard and had performed in school's production of ``Much Ado About Nothing.''

``We just started rehearsing and the students took to the play like ducks to water,'' said Crane. ``It's been a real growing experience.''

Shakespeare wrote the play around 1600, basing it on a romantic novel by a contemporary writer Thomas Lodge. Shakespeare dramatized the work, added a few colorful characters and a lot of comedy.

Briefly the play is about Orlando (played by Noah Barlow) who has been banished by his older brother, so he hides in the forest. Among other intrigues of the day, a younger duchess usurps the rights of her older sister. This lands Rosalind (played by Kara Fried) and her cousin Celia (played by Jacey Wever) in the forest. To protect their maidenly virtue, Rosalind dresses as a boy. When Rosalind encounters Orlando, she continues the masquerade to assure herself of Orlando's affection for her.

``It's fun to dress up as a man,'' said Fried, 17. ``To prepare for the role I started observing guys and imitating their movements.''

The cast of 25 also includes an assortment of lords, ladies, shepherds, shepherdesses, wrestlers, clergy and a clown called Touchstone. Touchstone is played by Thomas Chambon, a 12th-grade foreign exchange student from France. Chambon's technique for creating his role was simple.

``I just learned the lines and tried to find things to make people laugh,'' said Chambon.

THE FACTS

WHAT: Shakespeare's ``As You Like It''

WHEN: Today at 7 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

WHERE: Simi Valley High School, 5400 Cochran Ave.

COST: Tickets prices are $5 general and $4 student.

INFORMATION: Call (805) 577-1400.

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos

PHOTO (1-2--Color in Simi Edition only) Above, Thomas Chambon as Touchstone courts Audrey, played by Dana Huber, in a scene from ``As You Like It.'' At left, from left, Erica Adelstein as the Duchess, Jacey Wever as Celia and Kara Fried in the role of Rosalind rehearse for a production of the Shakespeare's comedy being performed by Simi Valley High School kids at the campus this weekend.
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Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 15, 1999
Words:553
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