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6:44 AM Mon, Nov. 19th

Highlands Center and Laark Productions present Shakespeare in the Pines

Marion Johnston photos.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->As You Like It actors from left to right: Justus Burkitt (as Touchstone), Reva Howard (as Rosalind), and Ayla Bowman (as Celia).

Marion Johnston photos.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->As You Like It actors from left to right: Justus Burkitt (as Touchstone), Reva Howard (as Rosalind), and Ayla Bowman (as Celia).

The Highlands Center for Natural History and Laark Productions present the second annual Shakespeare in the Pines fundraiser, June 26 and 27.

This year the outdoor amphitheater will set the scene for As You Like It, one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies, featuring mistaken identities, lovers triangles and resulting mayhem. It is a zany pastoral romp through the forest with some of the silliest lovers ever to take the stage.

As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle's court, accompanied by her cousin Celia to find safety and, eventually, love, in the Forest of Arden. In the forest, they encounter a variety of memorable characters, notably the unmitigated cynic Jaques who speaks many of Shakespeare's most famous speeches (such as "All the world's a stage" and "A fool! A fool! I met a fool in the forest"). The interpretation is fresh as a French baguette and delivers a laugh a minute. This production is must-see entertainment in a venue that sold out two performances last year.

The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. each evening, where guests will enjoy wine, appetizers generously catered by El Gato Azul, and brews from Black Hole Beer Company. They are joined by actors as they begin the play, which then moves to the amphitheater for the performance at 7:30. Guests are encouraged to arrive by 6:30 for the reception to not miss the action as it begins. Dessert and coffee will be served during intermission.

Tickets to Shakespeare in the Pines are $60 per person (including reception) and can be reserved online at http://highlandscenter.org/on-line-registration. Tickets must be purchased in advance, as seating is limited. Proceeds benefit the nature-based educational programs at the Highlands Center. The main sponsor of this event is Lamb Cadillac, and other sponsors include The Daily Courier, Raskins Jewelers, Fred Lindquist Realtors, Allegra Printing, El Gato Azul, Yavapai Financial Planning, Bergamini Group from Realty Executives, Black Hole Beer Company, The Native Garden and Vincente Landscaping.

Actors in the play include students, local performers and veterans of the Arizona Shakespeare Company, under the direction of Laark Productions Artistic Director Karla Burkitt. Producer Lane Burkitt is also Managing Director of Laark. Visit http://www.laarkproductions.org/ for more information.