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I disagree with Bob Mondello’s review of the hiphop As You Like It co-produced by the Washington Shakespeare Company and the African Continuum Theatre Company (“Half Nelson,” 4/7). Under Jennifer Nelson’s direction, this is one of the few new takes on Shakespeare I’ve seen in which the updating works, and the speech, dress, and mannerisms seem to grow out of the characters rather than be grafted on. Perhaps some of Nelson’s additions don’t advance the story, but neither do they detract from it. And, as is not the case in some other theaters’ current takes on Shakespeare, in As You Like It the actors actually seem to understand what they’re saying.
The evening I saw As You Like It, several young theatergoers seemed transfixed by a Shakespearian play. That’s no small achievement—and it suggests that the production is doing something right to connect with its audience.
Chevy Chase, Md.