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The Folger Spotlight

Valentines in Arden: The Cast of 'As You Like It' on the Quirks of Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, Spotlight readers! On this day dedicated to love and all its forms, we thought it would be fun to share with you some stories from times the As You Like It cast has tangled with Cupid. Read on for pick-up lines, feats of daring-do, odd dates, and find out which actors have tried their own hands at love poetry…

Featuring: Antoinette Robinson, Aaron Krohn, Dani Stoller, Cody Wilson, and Kimberly Chatterjee.

Celia (Antoinette Robinson) in As You Like It, 2017. Photo: Teresa Wood.

You look across a room and suddenly it hits you: love at first sight. But how to introduce yourself to the object of your affection? If you’re going to go for a pick-up line, Cody Wilson (Dennis/William) has you covered with his favorite opener: “I kind of have a thing with feet… do you mind if I sweep you off yours?” If you prefer something a little more punny, Antoinette Robinson (Celia) enjoys “Do you like raisins? How about a date?,”  advising that “it’s best if the pick-up line can make you laugh.” But proceed with caution! Pick-up lines are not for everyone, and Dani Stoller (Phoebe) warns that “I hate them all. If you plan on using a pick up line, stay away from me.”

Silvius (Brian Reisman) loses the attention of Phoebe (Dani Stoller), As You Like It, 2017. Photo: Teresa Wood.

Okay, no pick-up lines. Instead, maybe you want to show your love through action. When asked about the silliest thing he had ever done to impress someone, Aaron Krohn (Touchstone) shared with us the time he “climbed a four-story balcony/terrace stack at Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Lot’s of decaying and rotting wood. But: it worked.” Cody once participated in a “lip sync battle to a Kesha song,” facing off with two guy friends against five ladies. Dani “bought his favorite book and read it in front of him,” while Antoinette decided to face a fear…or at least, try:

Silliest thing I’ve done to impress someone: so I have a fear of motorcycles. Deathly. This guy I dated once had a Moped and when we first started dating he wanted to take me on a ride. Which I said Yes. (Why?! WHY?!) I was maybe on the Moped for 45 seconds. Clearly I was digging into his sides because he turned to ask me if I was okay. We get to a stoplight…and I literally hopped off the Moped and ran to the curb. RAN. TO. THE. CURB! (Needless to say it didn’t last long!)

And, of course, sometimes, a bit of sacrifice is involved, such as when Kimberly Chatterjee (Audrey) took a not-so-quick detour:

I fancy myself a calm, collected woman who would never inconvenience herself for the attention of a man…I had a huge crush on this guy I was working with in college. After working with him on a project, he asked if I and my colleagues wanted to get some Starbucks — his treat. Everyone else said no. I, of course, said “Absolutely, of course, I mean, sure if you want company” and went with him. Meantime, I actually had to rush in the opposite direction uptown to pick up a pair of tickets for a Broadway show that started in an hour. Not only did I walk the ten blocks the wrong direction to get a hot chocolate with this man, I then proceeded to walk with him back towards school for an additional 35 minutes just chatting about nothing…only to find out at the end of the conversation that he had a girlfriend. Oh, and I missed the show.

William (Cody Wilson) is taught a few things by Touchstone (Aaron Krohn), while Audrey (Kimberly Chatterjee) looks on. As You Like It, 2017. Photo: Teresa Wood.

So, some mixed results, but going on a date with someone is no guarantee of success, either! While Dani’s “weirdest” date introduced her to rock climbing (an activity she still enjoys), Cody once spent a night in college touring “as many playgrounds as possible.” And sometimes, the dates are just bad, like this story from Aaron:

I went on a double date with another guy in my band. It turns out BOTH girls were interested in him. We went for bad Chinese food. After our food arrived the girl who was my bandmate’s date – though in a sense they both were – offered a bite of her shrimp fried rice to the table. “No thanks,” I replied, “I’m allergic to shrimp”. “Oh, guys will say anything to be interesting,” she quipped. Yes, I thought, because it’s so sexy to have an allergy.

Love, it appears, is elusive. But sometimes you find that special someone who inspires feelings you’re just driven to express, which brings us to our final question. With all the love letters floating around the Forest of Arden, we had to ask…have any of our actors tried their hands at poetry, or been the object of an ode? Antoinette admits to having “written many a poem,” while Cody has yet to give it a go. No one’s dedicated a poem to Kimberly, yet, but she says “my high school boyfriend used to take pictures on his Mac and then Photoshop himself into different memes. A sort of visual poetry, one could say.” And then, of course, there is the poetry found in music. Dani remembers a boy she knew in high school who wrote a song for her: “He played it on guitar. It was terrible, but very thoughtful.” On the other side of the equation, Aaron says he has “written my wife many poems and some songs,” including a saucy tune about lawn care. When you’re truly in love, inspiration can come from anywhere!

Audrey (Kimberly Chatterjee) listens to a song by Touchstone (Aaron Krohn) and company, As You Like It, 2017. Photo: Teresa Wood.

profile_faceNow that you’ve heard about the actors’ experiences with romance, come see what antics their characters get up to in pursuit of love in As You Like Itnow on stage at Folger Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit us online or call the Folger Box Office at 202.544.7077.