Orlando's whirlwind epic tale begins in the 16th Century, when he's a young poet and favorite at Queen Elizabeth's court. We follow his romantic escapades and failed writing attempts, until one day, Orlando wakes up completely transformed into a woman, yet in all other ways the same. She takes it all in stride as she soon learns the power and limitations of being a woman in this world. Centuries pass as Orlando continues looking for love, inspiration, and fulfillment.
|the cast of Orlando (photo by Alex Wohlhueter)|
The set consists of a massive two-dimensional oak tree that reaches into the rafters of the Crane Theater, with pages of a book tacked all over its branches like leaves. Just a few versatile set pieces comprise the rest of Orlando's world. The ensemble is dressed in fun and colorful Renaissance Festival fair, while Orlando's costumes change with their gender and the changing centuries, from wide Elizabethan skirts, to elegant Victorian style, to a flapper dress, all in rich shades of red. (Set design by MJ Leffler, costume design by Mandi Johnson.)
Orlando is another excellent choice by Theatre Pro Rata to speak to today's world, exploring gender fluidity, gender norms, identity, creativity, and the evolution of time (check out the excellent play guide compiled by dramaturg Gina Musto for more historical and sociological context).