Writers: Sarah Ruhl


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Drama, Fairy Tale/Fantasy
Period, Fantasy/Imaginary, Multiple Settings
Time & Place
the elizabethan age, the 17th century, the 18th century, the 19th century, the 20th century, england, constantinople
Cast Size
Ideal for
professional / regional theater, college / university theatre, community theatre, small ensemble, large ensemble, flexible ensemble
Casting Notes
Mostly female cast
Includes adult, young adult, mature adult, elderly, late teen characters


Orlando, a beautiful charismatic nobleman, has enjoyed a lifetime of adventures: he becomes the favorite of Queen Elizabeth the First, he dallies with many fine ladies, losing his heart to one mysterious Russian Princess, he wanders Shakespeare’s London and endures the chill of the Great Frost, he travels to Constantinople, where his reputation for spectacular debauchery is indeed vast. But after a nighttime encounter with gypsy, Orlando sleeps for seven days, and wakes to live again -- as a woman. As Orlando adapts her bold, free demeanor to the strict and hampering skirts and expectations of feminine behavior, the changing world around her -- from Victorian England to the busy department stores of the 20th century -- illustrates the mutability of man and woman, and instinct of each to fit their place and time. A dreamy adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s famous tale, Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando is a magical and poetic dance between gender and through time, a fantastical world in which courtly movement and biographical narration combine to tell the story of a being who lives outside of human expectations, and enjoys twice the experience that humanity has to offer.

Casting note: Ruhl has stated that her favorite casting of Orlando consists of female actors in the roles of Orlando and Sasha, and a chorus of 3 male actors to play the rest of the parts; however she also states that the casting is entirely gender-flexible, and the Chorus can be as few as 3, as many as many as 15 actors.

Lead Characters

Orlando guide sections