Stage actor Lindsay Smiling loves performing the works of William Shakespeare.
“Once people can see that you can handle the language of Shakespeare, you get more calls to do it,” explained Smiling whose theater credits have included “Othello” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
“What I enjoy about Shakespeare is that his work deals with things that we don’t deal with today like castles and banishment, but people then like today deal with love, family, friendship and all these great things. I also love it because I get to use the full musicality (of) the words to tell the story.”
And he is glad to be showcasing his skills on the Pittsburgh Public Theater stage during its month-long run of the prolific writer’s work, “As You Like It.”
Directed by Ted Pappas, the romantic comedy tells the story of Rosalind, a smart, funny and feisty heroine who is banished from the palace and runs to the Forest of Arden disguised as a boy. While there, Rosalind uncovers a world filled with colorful characters who are all in the pursuit of happiness—just like she is. The production is set in the Edwardian era, a short-lived golden age at the start of the 20th Century when social change promised hope to many.
“As You Like It” will run from January 19 to February 19 at the O’Reilly Theater in the heart of the Cultural District.
“This is a great love story that goes across any racial lines. I get to sing and dance and fight. I have a full plate and I am on stage for a long time,” said Smiling who resides in New York City. “I love doing theater and I always have. Stage is an important entity that needs to be kept alive for us as people because it’s a way of communication with each other as human beings and that experience happens on the spot with theater. It allows us to understand each other without having to speak.”
Smiling grew up outside of Chicago and attended a community college in the area before getting accepted into Illinois State University to major in Mathematics and Theater. His chosen field ended up being theater. He then went on to Temple University in Philadelphia for grad school. He has been performing regional theater in and around the New York area ever since.
“I realized theater is what I wanted to do. It’s not financially stable but I said you only live once. I grew up outside of Chicago in the suburbs and theater opened up a world about human relations and that kept pulling at me. It became my passion pretty thoroughly. Theater’s around the country are closing bit by bit and they are struggling. It’s tough for theater’s to maintain their audiences. The theater’s job is to open up theater and make the work relevant for people. I try to make sure that I do a great job. The more we can touch people the better we are,” Smiling said.
Following his time at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, Smiling will continue on the Shakespeare train with a run in “Othello” at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
Show times for “As You Like It” are: Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. (except Feb. 14 when the show is at 7 p.m.); Saturday at 2 p.m. (except Jan. 28). There will be an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 16. Sunday performances are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tickets for “As You Like It” are $28 to $60 or $15.75 for students age 26 and younger with valid ID
(For more information or to purchase tickets call 412-316-1600 or visit www.ppt.org.)