The play follows a multitude of characters driven from a nobleman’s court to exile in the Forest of Arden, where they find refuge from the ambition, intrigue, envy, and striving of the world.
There a usurped Duke philosophizes on his new freedom; a lord tends his melancholy like a garden; and the clown Touchstone pursues his fooling to the edge of the sublime – but the show belongs to the misery and ecstasy of love and to the superlative Rosalind, mistress of all situations and persons except her own wild heart.
There are familiar Shakespearian tropes in As You Like It. The instantaneous and absolute way love conquers. The woman dressed as a man who hides from her love and is loved by the wrong person in turn. And the character who arranges events to create maximum drama, even as the audience is left wondering what motivates her manipulations.
No matter. The dialogue is superb. Rosalind bewitches men and women, on and off stage, in equal measure. And all ends happy in this most delicate of Shakespeare’s comedies.