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I drink. I smoke. I wash every few days. I've dabbled in drugs, illicit, legal, over-the-counter, under-the-counter, hallucinogens, inhalants, depressants, designer - I've had a lot of great weekends. No dreamland oasis or euphoric jubilee has ever made me do anything as stupid as the things I've done for love. Love at first sight is powerful. It's meeting the eyes of something sexy across the room. It's wanting to go to war, solve world hunger and draft a global peace treaty all at once. It's standing on top of a mountain and crying out to a Norse God, crushing your enemies and devouring a banquet to retire to the mattress, or couch, or washing machine and entwining yourself with another person until you forget where you begin and they end. Never, not at all and in no way have I ever been attracted to a woman in drag.

Yet this is what I am expected to believe; or at least, that is the schwag Ted Pappas is dealing in his interpretation of Bill Shakespeare's As You Like It. Unfortunately, Orlando, Christian Conn, has more chemistry with Rosalind, Gretchen Egolf, while she fronts as her male alter-ego, Ganymede. I'd like to try what he's on. After scoring a David and Goliath wrestling match his eyes dilate on a hetero Rosalind's and, after exchanging some jive, he is in love.

What a putz.

The authenticity incredulously comes through the actors Pappas cast as the squires. What the kingpins lack to put down the audience picks up from Touchstone. His stage antics are hydro to the worst desert cottonmouth. This clown does not front. He is tripping through the woods and discovers Audrey, Lisa Ann Goldsmith. The fool falls for the well-endowed, dim-witted and blunt shepherdess. Despite her low standards and the absence of her cheeba's purity she convinces him to chase the dragon all the way to marriage.

Meanwhile, Ganymede is training Orlando to love Rosalind. In her male guise she strings him along, cutting his boyish infatuation with a woman's wisdom. Apparently Orlando chooses to ignore the long blond ponytail, the high pitched voice and Ganymede's feminine kinesthetics. Though Rosalind is scarce in the first half of the play, the audience scores plenty of her through Ganymede. Maybe Orlando's daft, or perhaps he knows all along that Ganymede is Rosalind. Either way, that fool must be high to let himself go through this narc's training program. I would sooner share a sesh with Adam, Noble Shropshire, Orlando's decrepit man servant, who knows, maybe it would help his glaucoma. His dual role as the drunk priest Martex had me geeking out when he pulled a flask from his bible. As he drunkenly slid off the stage I elevated from giggling to a coughing fit.

I left the show happy but Orlando and Rosalind were downers. Leading roles should not be a buzz kill. Shakespeare is too dank for that. Thankfully, the supporting cast salvaged my attention span and prevented any self-abuse in hopes of damaging my short-term memory. The side stories are absolute chronic, while unfortunately the main story turned out to be oregano.


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