"All the world's a stage," Shakespeare proclaimed in his enduring comedy As You Like It. Would you believe two stages with two plays at a discount? That's the unusual deal being offered by Fontbonne and Washington universities. When the directors of the two schools' respective theater departments realized that their productions of As You Like It and All's Well That Ends Well share the same performance dates, they decided to offer a "Bard-swap": a ticket stub from one comedy will get you into the second show at half price.
The two plays, which were written within two years of each other, around 1600, offer intriguing contrasts. As You Like It has never lost popularity in the past four centuries, whereas All's Well has hardly found any. In the rarely produced latter play, which is based on a fairy tale by Boccaccio, the valiant Helena must figure out how to become impregnated by a dimwitted husband who refuses to sleep with her. That's a neat trick, but you'd better believe she pulls it off.
Perhaps because it's deemed a "mature" comedy, As You Like It includes a surprising number of references to hatred and self-loathing. On the other hand, it also includes some musical moments, and, as we'll hear, Will was also a pretty mean lyricist. As You Like It features some of his greatest hits, including "It was a lover and his lass" and "Blow, blow, thou winter wind."
As You Like It - Performed by the students of Fontbonne University at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through April 6 at 6800 Wydown Boulevard. Call 314-889-1425 for tickets, priced from $5-$10.
Two classic comedies, and only one full admission price. As Shakespeare might have exclaimed, "Holy mackerel! Whatta deal." Or was that Marlowe? No matter. Go. Enjoy. And, forsooth, don't forget to save that ticket stub.