"ALL THE WORLD'S a stage," begins one of Shakespeare's most famous monologues. To the company at Portland's Post5 Theatre, which recently made a move from a cramped Montavilla basement to a roomy old church in Sellwood, the stage must indeed feel like all the world—needing to be populated and furnished.
As You Like It (the play that supplies that famed maxim) is Post5's first production in its new home. The comedy follows Rosalind, exiled from her uncle's court into the rural Forest of Arden. Accompanied by her city-slicker cousin Celia and haughty court jester Touchstone, Rosalind disguises herself as a man named Ganymede—for no real reason but comedy.
Isabella Buckner as Rosalind and Jessica Tidd as Celia define the play immediately with their chemistry. Tidd is classically funny—not hammy, but large-gestured and wielding an arsenal of judgy faces that recall Lucille Ball or, for that matter, Lucille Bluth. Buckner, in one of this production's unique, hilarious moves, swoons as Rosalind, but as Ganymede, inexplicably takes on the persona of a cowboy, including accent, gait, and finger-guns.
As You Like It offers some of Shakespeare's best characters, including the fool Touchstone, whose wit swings from goofy to acidic (actor Max Maller handles this with an ineluctable dryness), and the great sad-sack Jaques, played by Keith Cable, who almost outshines himself early in the play as Le Beau, a wearily sarcastic courtier.
Chip Sherman captures Orlando's impressionable youthfulness perfectly, disheveling himself for Rosalind's love and often slipping into the mannerisms or dialects of anyone he shares a scene with.
Founding Artistic Director Ty Boice, in a moment of thanks, was a bit harried. On top of moving the entire company across the city, he directed As You Like It. The stage, in fact, appears a little unfinished. Set design is minimal, though the Forest of Arden feels warm, decorated by the cast as the musicians play yet another folkified pop tune, their saccharine sincerity two times too twee.
Post5 Theatre is (proudly) the cheapest company in town. Shows are pay-what-you-can on Sundays, and tickets are only $15 regularly. Right now, on an unfinished stage, on borrowed chairs, it sort of feels like you get what you pay for. So pay more. Donate on your way out, buy some drinks from Post5's famous Bar[d] and tip heavily. If they can put on a show this fun while building the theater, imagine what they can do if we help them finish it.