Notes from the Forest: What shall I do with my doublet and hose?

Every week, A.B.L.E. teaching artist Emma MacLean takes you behind the scenes for our teen ensembles’ spring production, As You Like It. Click here to catch up on our past installments, and read on to find out about Week 1 of rehearsals…

Alas the day, what shall I do with my doublet and hose?
— Rosalind, As You Like It (III.ii)

Rosalind speaks this late in the play, while she laments to Celia about her predicament. She is in love with a man, but also dressed like a man, she wants to reveal her true self to the man she loves, but revealing her disguise could ruin her..


Our actors had no such struggles as they tired on all different costumes in this week’s rehearsal. They gamely changed in and out of capes, floppy hats and long skirts. We worked our way through the four major character groupings: those who live in the court, the DeBoys, those who live in the forest, and those who are banished to the forest. In our production, actors will share roles, with each playing at least 2 different characters throughout the show. During the early weeks of rehearsal, we try to give each actor a chance to embody as many different characters as possible and to get familiar with their signature costume pieces. The actors were as excited as Celia when she hatches a plan to wear disguises as she, Rosalind and Touchstone enter the forest.


I'll put myself in poor and mean attire

And with a kind of umber smirch my face;

The like do you: so shall we pass along and never stir assailants.


Were it not better,

Because that I am more than common tall,

That I did suit me all points like a man?

Actors worked as a team to make tableaux for some of the more complex relationships and moments in the play. Chiefly the love quadrangle between Orlando, Rosalind/Ganymede, Phebe and Silvius (and a little bit of Celia/Aliena and Oliver, too). Check out this video of our Monday ensemble:

After the character introductions we practiced character walks with a favorite game, Here to There. This play has everything from young lovers, to wise old men, to angry rulers to welcoming fathers. I personally loved watching actors transform from being melancholy like Jacques to silly like Touchstone the fool.

The Friday ensemble walks “Here to There” as LOVERS.

The Friday ensemble walks “Here to There” as LOVERS.

Next week we will walk through the play plot of act one: wrestlers, brothers and family feuds to come! Stay tuned!