Anna's picks

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March 21, 2005 // UPDATED 1:53 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

'The Notebook' and 'The Proof'

"The Notebook" and "The Proof" are kind of a two-plays-for-one deal. Although each can be considered independently, their dramatists suggest seeing them in sequence - "The Notebook" followed by "The Proof." Together, they present different dimensions of a story that follows a pair of twin boys' lives overshadowed by World War II.

Granted, the themes that emerge from this production are mainly ethereal, but a disclaimer on the play states that some may find the work disturbing. There are uncomfortable topics such as lost innocence, bestiality, war and corruption.

We watch as the twins are abandoned by their distressed mother and later, battered by nearly everything else. After their mother hopelessly deposits them at their grandmother's house, they face countless abuses. They're subjected to the ugly actions of war that take the form of violence, deception and greed.

Presented by the Belgian troupe De Onderneming Theatre Collective, the miniseries is adapted from the trilogy by Hungarian writer Agota Kristof. The collective airs out traditional theater and get back to the basics - with minimal sets, props and costumes, and no director. They compare the finality of life with the immortality of art, and they also portray that experiments are risky and realizing the shape of our inner thoughts is difficult.

- The Notebook: Tu-Su Mar. 22-Apr. 1, Tu-F 7:30 p.m., Sa 1 p.m., Su 7 p.m.

The Proof: Tu-Sa Mar. 23-Apr. 2; Tu-Sa 7:30 p.m., Sa 1 p.m.

Guthrie Lab, 700 N. 1st St.

$35-$60. 377-2224.

'As You Like It'

Set against the sounds of Motown and folk hits, you might not guess that "As You Like It" is a Shakespearean romantic comedy. The backdrop of the 1960s turns the enchanted Forest of Arden into a hippie hangout and sanctuary for peace and love amid civil instability.

Focusing on best friends and cousins Rosalind and Celia we learn about the tense political situation the two intrinsically are a part of, even as they try hard to avoid participation.

Rosalind is the daughter of Duke Senior, who was exiled after his brother Frederick seized control. Celia is Frederick's daughter. Rosalind is the one most affected by this tug-o-war. She carries the burden of the family's winding power struggle. But her anxiety is temporarily quelled by her overwhelming affection for Orlando. That is, until she's evicted from the court after Frederick grows increasingly uncomfortable with her presence (she's a constant reminder of her dad).

But Rosalind bounces back and cleverly goes incognito as a boy, calling herself Ganymede. Gathering Celia, a favorite court comic, and the wise fool Touchstone, they seek their own sort of Woodstock (a.k.a. Forest of Arden).

In the Forest, they contemplate an endless stream of conundrums and challenges that seem tied to significantly fewer answers.

Musing over the haziness and complexities of love, they observe that even when things get tossed up and lost in midair, in the end they seem to land exactly where they were meant to be. So, where does that leave Rosalind and Orlando? Is power restored? Find out what kind of redemption these philosophers discover.

- Tu-Su thru Apr. 17; Tu-Sa 7:30 p.m., Su 7 p.m. (matinees select W, Sa and Su 1 p.m.).

Guthrie Theater, 725 Vineland Pl.

$14-$49. 377-2224.