So Here’s the Tea
Prior to the start of our story, Duke Frederick has banished his brother Duke Senior to the Forest of Arden where he and other lords such as Jacques reside. Duke Senior’s daughter, Rosalind, still remains in Frederick’s court because of her close friendship with her cousin/Duke Frederick’s daughter, Celia.
Get Ready to Rumble
After the passing of Orlando’s father Sir Rowland de Boys, Orlando’s oldest brother Oliver withholds Orlando’s right to his inheritance and education that their father promised to Orlando. Frustrated by his brother’s neglect, Orlando challenges the reigning champion Charles to a wrestling match in an attempt to win his own fortune. Orlando is victorious. This wrestling match is also where Rosalind sets her eyes on Orlando for the first time and falls in love with him.
Escape to the Forest
Duke Frederick banishes Rosalind, as she has become a threat to his power. Celia, unable to leave Rosalind’s side, accepts banishment as well and accompanies her into the forest in search of Rosalind’s father Duke Senior. They each take on new identities as siblings – Rosalind as Ganymede and Celia as Aliena. They bring along Touchstone, a fool, to lighten their journey into the forest. At the same time, Orlando flees to the forest after learning of a plot by Oliver to kill him following his wrestling victory.
I Am Your Rosalind
Rosalind stumbles upon the lovesick Orlando and urges Orlando to prove the depth of his love for Rosalind. Rosalind asks Orlando to woo her every day in an effort to see if he will prove a true lover. In the forest Rosalind expands her sense of self by taking on the name Ganymede.
In the Meantime…
In a parallel plotline, Touchstone and Audrey, a goat-herd, pursue a relationship. Silvius, a shepherd, pines for a shepherdess named Phoebe with little to no avail as Phoebe has become infatuated with Ganymede. Corin, a shepherd and a friend of Silvius, tries to help Silvius accept the reality of his fruitless attempts to woo Phoebe. Corin also offers up a home to Aliena and Ganymede.
A Celebration of Four Weddings
Aliena and Ganymede encounter Oliver in the woods. Upon this first encounter, Oliver recaps how Orlando saved him from being attacked by both a lion and a snake, and how this act of heroism restored their relationship as brothers. Oliver and Celia also fall in love when they first meet. Elsewhere, Ganymede strikes a deal with Phoebe in that if she rejects Ganymede for any reason, then she must marry Silvius. Ganymede declares that Rosalind will be summoned the next day to marry Orlando and it is decided that all four couples shall then be wed.
SPOILER ALERT! Everything happens according to Rosalind’s plan. When Rosalind asserts who she is, this prompts Phoebe to reject Ganymede and accept Silvius’ wedding proposal. The four couples — Orlando with Rosalind, Phoebe with Silvius, Touchstone with Audrey and Oliver with Celia — get married with the blessing of Hymen, the god of marriage. Duke Frederick also relinquishes his power back to Duke Senior after an encounter with a religious man. All is well.
Rosalind speaks to the audience – encouraging them to reflect on the story and their role in it. It sparks curiosity and questioning about the binary world we live in and how we can encourage a gender-ful world in our everyday lives.
Rosalind – The daughter of the banished Duke Senior who falls in love with Orlando. Best friends with her cousin Celia. Takes on the identity of Ganymede in the Forest of Arden.
Orlando – The youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys; he was promised education and inheritance which Oliver took away from him. In love with Rosalind.
Oliver – Orlando’s cruel older brother. While in the forest, he falls in love with Celia.
Celia – Cousin and confidant to Rosalind. She is the daughter of Duke Frederick. In the forest she is known as Aliena (Rosalind/Ganymede’s sister) and falls in love with Oliver.
Duke Frederick – He banished his brother Duke Senior into the Forest of Arden and took over his position of power.
Father of Celia.
Duke Senior – The banished Duke who contentedly lives in the Forest of Arden with other lords such as Jacques.
Silvius – A shepherd who is madly in love with Phoebe, but she doesn’t return his affection.
Phoebe – A shepherdess who is pursued by Silvius. She becomes infatuated with Ganymede.
Touchstone – The court jester who joins Rosalind and Celia on their journey into the forest. He meets and marries the
Audrey – A goat-herd who marries Touchstone after meeting in the Forest of Arden.
Corin – A shepherd and a friend of Silvius. He helps Rosalind and Celia find a place to stay in the forest.
Jacques – A lord who lives with the banished Duke Senior in the Forest of Arden; delivers the Seven Ages of Man speech
Hymen – the god of marriage who presides over the wedding ceremony.
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