Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review of Orlando at Court Theatre


Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Orlando. It was at the Court Theatre. It was a story about a boy that turns into a girl, and it was also about how you can love women even if you are a woman. It took place in a lot of time periods; to be precise, the Elizabethan, the 19th century, and the 20th century. Orlando is mostly thirty for the play even though she/he has lived through all these different centuries. At the very beginning he is sixteen. There is a male chorus; they played different characters. The director, Jessica Thebus, made them play some women parts too because this was a play about men and women put together and how they connect to each other. It is based on a book by Virginia Woolf. She wanted to tell people that you can marry people that are the same sex and that people can feel like boys if they are girls and feel like girls if they are boys. What happened to Orlando couldn't really happen in real life because she is alive for centuries. Most people are only alive one century.

The Queen Elizabeth was played by Lawrence Grimm. I thought he did a good job playing the Queen because he was a boy and the character was a girl. He was so funny. The Queen was like "kiss me," and then Orlando kissed her and she said "That's my boy!" I felt kind of sorry for her when Orlando kissed the other girl.

There was a scene where Orlando was in the bed with the Queen. And the chorus was outside of the bed and said, "And the flower bloomed and fa-ded. The sun came up and back down again." That was funny because they were like dancing at the same time. Their arms were up, and they were on their tippy toes, and when they said faded they put their arms down.

In the book they said that the girl that Orlando was supposed to marry (Thomas J. Cox) was dropping as many handkerchiefs as she had but Orlando would only pick up Sasha's handkerchief. In the play, she threw so many handkerchiefs and said "Orlando! I'm dropping my handkerchiefs! Will you pick them up! Hellooo!" That was how I imagined it in the book except I did not think it was going to be played by a boy.

Sasha was played by Erica Elam. Sasha was a Russian princess. I love how she was like "Translation: Will you please honor me by passing the salt." She was always speaking in French but she had a Russian accent. She did a very very good Russian accent. She was going to marry Orlando but then she went away on a ship with sailors played by the chorus. She should have stayed with Orlando but maybe her father was worried about her and she had to go see him. Maybe it was for a good reason.

When the big flood happens there was a couple laying in bed with millions of eating utensils. I love that part because it is so hilarious.

There was a scene of Othello by Shakespeare in the play that Orlando saw. I thought that it was a very good adaptation of Othello. And who played Othello was Kevin Douglas. Orlando was thinking that he had murdered Sasha with his own hands. But he did not. He was just imagining. He was imagining it because Othello is about a man who suffocates his wife because of the handkerchief but she did not really give it to another man that she is actually not in love with. Othello feels really bad and kills himself.

The actor that played Orlando was named Amy J. Carle. When she was a boy she just wore her hair up in a bun--very easy. I thought she did a good job at playing a female and male part--even though they were the same part. There was a flies game that they played that the Duke that was playing with Orlando (Cox) had to give money to her because whoever had the flies on the lump of sugar that they thought got the money. So it was like gambling. She was like "Ah! Ah! A fly!" and then she got his whole entire fortune. But then he was like, "I can forgive you with my charmingness." And she was like, "Oh no. Not again!" I felt that when she actually speaked to us (not just speaking to a character) it was cool because it made you feel like she didn't just care about the people in the story, she cared about the people watching.

The scene where she changes into a woman was a cool part because the chorus said "And she stands in front of all of us in complete nakedness." You saw her behind a curtain, but you knew she was naked. It tells you that she is a woman. It was not surprising because I had read that part of the book.

In the play, the chorus said "And he did what any young man would do." And Orlando says "King, please send me off to Constantinople" because he wants to get away from the Archduchess (Cox). And he does get away from the Archduchess--for a century. Most people would think that was good, but not Orlando because she lives more than a century. She changes into a woman and comes straight back to London and she meets the Archduchess and then he turns into the Archduke. He revealed "A man in black," and then said: "I was in love with you when I saw your picture, but I knew I could not marry you because you were my same sex." Then he turns into like a hilarious pose. Orlando is not impressed at all. The Archduke did like a lot of teeheees. The chorus said: "with an unmentionable number of tee heeing and haw hawing." She said, "Have you ever shot a Tiger?" And he said, "No, but I shot an albatross." Like duh. It is much easier to kill an albatross than a tiger. If he had shot a tiger, I would be like, I will marry you. Because that would be very useful.

Now let's talk about the Captain (Kevin Douglas). When Orlando is a woman she meets a Captain, and he says, let me give you the smallest slice of corned beef, just the size of your fingernail." It was funny because women's fingernails are smaller than men's. So that is a very small slice! She says, "The only thing to do was to resist or yield." And she yielded. There is a part they left out where a sailor is at the top of the mast, and he sees her ankles, and he almost falls off the mast. They didn't have anything to be a mast, and it would be kind of dangerous for the actors because they might fall and break their heads. That is why they did not put in that part.

They also left out the horrible-est character in the world--Greene. I did not like him because he wrote a horrible poem about Orlando. The playwright Sarah Ruhl left him out because I think he was such a bad character and she just didn't want to make people feel too too too bad for Orlando.

Now let's talk about Shelmerdine. Adrian Danzig was Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine, Esq. And everyday at breakfast, he told Orlando his name. And she is like, what's your name again? He is the husband of her. He is like "I think you are a boy," and she says "You are a girl." And then they said, "But we have to prove it," and they kissed. And it looked like they were going to wrestle. And I have no idea how that would help. The kissing helped in that time because girls could not marry girls and boys could not marry boys. Now they can. Their relationship was like a really good relationship because they liked the same things. And there was this scene where she read his mind about what he did, and where he lived, and what he liked.

The set was designed by Collette Pollard. I though the set was cool because they could move around the set. So they could use the bed as a lot of things: a ship, a bed, and a flower bloomed and faded place. It was really elegant. The costumes were made by Linda Roethke. I thought they were cool because when they said "And it was the Elizabeth times" they put on ruffle-necks. The costumes had lots of velcro and zippers--no buttons because most of the people were different parts easily. And buttons are hard to get on and off. They had different time period outfits because Orlando lived through so many different centuries.

People who would like this play are people who would like a long amount of kissing, and people that like boys and girls would like this play. You should expect nakedness. You should expect some funniness and some sadness. I laughed twenty five times out loud. When they did Othello, I felt very moved. And when Sasha left I felt very very sorry for Orlando. This play is more hilarious than sad though. I recommend that you should read some of the book before you see the play but not all of it because I think people would like the surprises. You should go see this because it is a very good adaptation of Orlando.

1 comment:

cmarko said...

Hey Ada,

All of us at Court Theatre thank you for coming to see Orlando and doing a review. You and your mom should get a copy of this Friday's (4/1) Chicago Tribune and look for our Orlando ad. I think you may like what you see.