How did they (create a forest) in As You Like It

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plenty of trees to ‘borrow’ for As You Like It

As you Like It is set partly in the court and partly in the forest of Arden or Ardennes (depending on who you listen to!) either way a forest then as now tends to have trees and dappled sunshine and leaves and other such things… The Forest of As You Like It has beauty and romance but it is also a place where a man may die of cold or starvation, it has deadly snakes and even lions to finish you off.

However from what we know about Shakespeare’s staging traditions there was not a huge effort made to recreate on stage the description of the setting within the text. The words themselves painted the picture Shakespeare wanted. So would Shakespeare have made any effort to represent the forest and if so how?

Well he may have done. For both As You Like It and A Midsummer Night’s Dream it is thought that Shakespeare may have dressed the stage with cuttings from trees in the local area, making the stage columns leafy for the occasion you can see from the image of The Old Globe theatre here that there was enough greenery to go round even in London. And even today London by the river is surprisingly green – although today I am sure you are not encouraged to trim the trees even if you are staging As You Like It that afternoon!

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Author:Liz Dollimore

Someone who loves listening to people talk about Shakespeare Liz tweets at @shakespeareBT

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