My New BFF Rosalind
I shot my hand out across the hall, blocking the path of several people, just to get the attention of my friend. She took out her ear bud, slightly startled. I just started talking. “Oh my god, I heard what happened this weekend. I can’t believe he would say that to you!” My hand grasped her arm, and I had to talk up to her ear to make up for the noisy hallway.
Mid sentence, I realized how we were standing and how we were talking to each other and I knew that it was how Celia and Rosalind needed to be played. I also knew that my friend didn’t care about my English homework right at that moment, so I kept this thought to myself and continued the conversation.
Rosalind and Celia are the epitome of best friends. In Shakespeare’s, As You Like It, my character, Celia, tries to comfort Rosalind. The two characters interact with each other casually and on a personal level. In order to portray Celia truthfully I had to imagine my best friend in the shoes of an acquaintance. I tried to interact with Sarabeth, playing Rosalind, as I would someone I have known for years and confide my most personal feelings to. This meant not only with the dialogue but also with my body language. I tried to apply small actions like a rub on the shoulder for reassurance and other things I had noticed when I talked with my friends. At first I felt awkward linking arms and grasping the hand of an acquaintance. However, after hours of rehearsal I didn’t think about many of the gestures anymore. I noticed within a week Sarabeth and I went from being several feet away to talking in each others ears as I had my friend in the hallway.
As soon as I thought I had nailed the part, the tone of the scene changed. When Duke Frederick storms in the beat changes. Although I still had to act compassionate towards Celia I now had to take light hearted Celia and stand her up to her father to defend Rosalind. In order to do this I positioned myself so I was in-between Rosalind and the Duke, protecting Rosalind. Then I planted my feet firmly and stood straight up, unlike before when I had a whimsical stance. By noticing my actions when I was with my friends and making a contrast between the actions of my character when Duke Frederick enters I was able to portray Celia truthfully.
Shakespeare’s works are considered classics for a reason, obviously. Many aspects of Celia and Rosalind’s relationship are relatable to modern relationships. The two of them gossip about Orlando, and Rosalind even makes a sexual joke. Then they cry together and make ambitious plans to run away for true love. Connections can be made between this plot and the drama an average teenage girl deals with. The friendship between Rosalind and Celia is strong enough for them to run away together. This resilient friendship is common for many adolescents, or at least me, who think their friends are the only people that matter at the time. I explored the play on a more personal and relatable level in a way I have never done with Shakespeare before. I look forward to looking at Hamlet in a similar way but also finding others ways to go about learning Shakespeare.