Monday, March 10, 2014

Visiting Orlando

This production of Orlando was a bit more gender fluid than I expected.

I didn't know much more than what the review said: Orlando was a male who, unexpectedly, became female around age 30.  Everything else about Orlando was the same, except for the physical body.

Orlando took to her new environment with the same childlike delight he expressed until then.  Along with the transformation, Orlando seemed to live hundreds of years and never age.

That's the basic plot.

OK, I'm jealous.  Let's leave that to a chorus of "me too's!" and move on.

The cast consisted of five people: the women who played Sasha and Orlando, and three men who were listed as "chorus."  They played everyone else, male, female, and indeterminate.  (One character was introduced as female but later turned out to be a man disguised as a woman, for a dubious purpose.)

So the Queen of England, Orlando's suitors and friends (both before and after his transformation) were played by the same three men.

Sasha was always Sasha, Orlando's love.  Orlando was always Orlando.

I am not sure what I think of comedy drag.  I've seen part of "To Wong Foo" and "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and turned them off.  I've watched "La Cage" and "Mrs Doubtfire" and "Some Like It Hot".  They're not on my "watch again" list.  I haven't seen "Kinky Boots" or "Transamerica" (yes, not a comedy, I know).

But I really enjoyed this production of Orlando.  The gender blending of the actors was fluid and generally drove the plot.  The audience shared Orlando's joie de vivre.

The theatre itself was tiny, seating perhaps 100; maybe 60 seats were filled.  Sit in the front row and you might find yourself involved in the show (to a small extent).

I am glad Meg went.  It just seemed appropriate.

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