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Youthquake’s annual Shakespeare in the Park production takes audiences into the wacky and delightful Forest of Arden. The woods are alive with political intrigue, cross dressing, and true love as Youthquake Theater presents Shakespeare’s classic comedy As You Like It.

Performances at the Somerville Community Growing Center (22 Vinal Ave. in Somerville) are Friday, June16 at 5:30 p.m; Saturday and Sunday June 17-18 at 2 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. The cast features young actors from Somerville, Medford, Cambridge, Melrose, Belmont, and Lexington.
As You Like It!
June 16-18 in Somerville
Shakespeare’s crazy comedy begins after Duke Senior has been exiled from the court by his brother, the usurping Duke Frederick. The former flees to the Forest of Arden with his faithful lords, leaving behind daughter Rosalind, who maintains a close friendship with her cousin Celia, the usurper’s daughter. When the royally born but poor Orlando de Boys tries to win his fortune in a wrestling match, he and Rosalind lay eyes on each other and fall madly in love. Their love remains unrequited as The Duke banishes Rosalind for fear she threatens his rule. The loyal Celia can’t let her go alone, and accompanies her cousin into the Forest. Rosalind pretends to be a boy, Celia pretends to be the boy’s sister, and the fool Touchstone comes along for the ride. Back at the court, Orlando learns of a plot against his life and heads for-you guessed it-The Forest of Arden. He encounters the disguised Rosalind and confesses his lovesick state, and Rosalind-as- Ganymeade convinces him to woo her/him to prove that his love is true. Meanwhile, shepherd Silvius confesses his love for forest dweller Phoebe, who has fallen for Rosalind-as- Ganymeade, while Touchstone pursues the goatherd Audrey. Orlando’s brother hunts him down in the forest but later regrets that he ever tried to hurt his sibling, and falls for Celia-as- Aliena. Duke. When Orlando can no longer stand it, Rosalind reveals herself and weddings ensue. To contrast with all the joy and happiness, the melancholy lord Jaques, who was banished with Duke Senior, is always around to put a damper on things.