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.
Orlando guide sections