Run Time: Closed October 14
Can one desire too much of a good thing?
When your life is at risk and you flee court to find refuge in the woods, it’s good to have a clown along. Stepping into the magical Forest of Arden with the philosophical fool Touchstone and her cousin Celia, Rosalind disguises herself as a young man and takes a walk into self-discovery. In this brave new world, she finds other court exiles—and the man she loves! Falling in love and learning who you are by acting the part are at the heart of this sumptuous, Victorian fantasy production in which romantic playfulness builds to a woodland wedding extravaganza.
Duke Frederick has usurped the throne of his elder brother, Duke Senior. Duke Frederick banishes his brother but keeps Duke Senior’s daughter, Rosalind, as a companion for his own daughter, Celia. The two young women are more like sisters than cousins. Paralleling the enmity between the two Dukes is that between the sons of the late Sir Roland de Boys. Oliver, as the eldest, inherits everything. He treats the younger Orlando more as a servant than a brother or noble, and he even plots to have him killed by Charles, his wrestling opponent. But much to the surprise of everyone at court, Orlando wins the match—and Rosalind’s heart.
Soon after, Duke Frederick banishes Rosalind. Celia determines to join her, as does the court clown, Touchstone. In order to travel safely, the two young women disguise themselves as commoners, with Celia as “Aliena” and Rosalind as “Ganymede”—a boy. The trio finds a new home in the Forest of Arden.
Orlando flees his brother’s home, taking with him the ancient servant, Adam, who gives the young man all his savings. The two also end up in Arden. Nearly starved and desperately worried about the ailing Adam, Orlando stumbles on the exiled Duke Senior and his court. He intends to rob them at knifepoint, but instead he and Adam are welcomed—and fed.
Orlando expresses his love for Rosalind by carving her name in the trees and posting love poems on them. Rosalind, disguised as a boy, sees them and promises Orlando “he” will cure him of love by enacting a courtship, with Ganymede pretending to be Rosalind.
So convincing is Rosalind’s disguise that she inadvertently wins the love of Phoebe, a shepherdess whom the pining shepherd, Silvius, loves. Even Touchstone falls in love, with Audrey, a goatherd. It’s a tangle of unrequited loves that Ganymede promises to set right.
The happy ending is helped along by the transformation of Oliver, who comes to the forest and is reconciled with his brother. Oliver and Celia fall in love at first sight, and Duke Senior declares he will marry the two the next day. Rosalind seizes the opportunity to make some seemingly impossible promises and demands. She demands that Phoebe marry Silvius if she can’t wed Ganymede, and she promises Orlando he will marry Rosalind.
The following day, Rosalind reveals herself, and Phoebe hastily agrees to marry Silvius. Orlando and Rosalind are united, as are Celia and Oliver, Silvius and Phoebe, Touchstone and Audrey—a quadruple wedding, with Hymen, the god of marriage, officiating!
Adding icing to the cake, it seems Duke Frederick has had a change of heart and decided to become a monk; Duke Senior will be restored to his rightful throne, and all of the exiles will return to court. All but one. Jacques announces she will not return with them but will follow Duke Frederick in a life of contemplation. The rest celebrate.