The third play of the Bay Street Theater season is Shakespeare’s As You Like It, featuring some theater royalty: Ellen Burstyn as the pensive Jacques and Andre de Shields, a show-stealer as Touchstone. They form the yin and yang of the bard’s comedy in this Sag Harbor staging under John Doyle’s direction, with Jacques pensive and pacing, and Touchstone colorful and cavorting. Burstyn is a most muted star in hat and tie. De Shields is his usual irrepressible in argyle socks and waistcoat. Of course the others in the ensemble for this musical version that will travel off-Broadway, to the CSC in the fall, are fine. But on the random Tuesday we attended, another was plucked from the first audience row, artist Eric Fishl, who as William with lines written out to read, formed a love triangle for the favors of Audrey, a saucy goatherd (Cass Morgan). Fishl’s wife April Gornik was cracking up, as her husband hates this sort of thing, she said. But Fishl was game, and handled his acting quite nicely, however sheepish he was. He does not win Audrey’s hand.
Kyle Scatliffe’s Orlando, and Quincy Tyler Bernstine’s Celia complement Hannah Cabell’s sensible Rosalind/ Ganymede. Bob Stillman, well cast as Duke Frederick and Duke Senior, keeps these leaders distinct while showing that as brothers, they are flip sides of one another. And, he plays piano with Stephen Schwartz’ original music. Ellen Burstyn delivers Jacques’ “stages of man” speech with authority, and balances the play’s frivolity in heady philosophies. You cannot argue with the joy of an ending involving four weddings.
As to Eric Fishl's acting future, well, a new project for his art was just announced. In this year, marking the 25th Anniversary of the Hamptons International Film Festival, for the fourth time, he will create the poster.