Exile. Mistaken identity. Romance . . . and Loads of Rustic Revelry

AYLI2019Devious Duke Frederick has usurped the kingdom of his older brother, Duke Senior, Duke Senior’s daughter Rosalind is allowed to remain at court—since she is the treasured confidante of Frederick’s only child, Celia.

After a wrestling match in which a dashing newcomer defeats the local favorite, the victor, Orlando de Bois, falls head-over-heels for Rosalind. But the couple’s happiness will have to wait since the two must separately flee the court: he because his brother is trying to kill him and she because her uncle has grown annoyed with her growing popularity.

An exile in the forest of Arden, Rosalind disguises herself as a young man named Ganymede and Celia calls herself Aliena, sister to the youth. Along with them they take Duke Frederick’s court jester, Touchstone, one of Shakespeare’s wisest “fools.” Touchstone finds live in the forest with a dim-witted country wench named Audrey.

Into the same forest go Orlando and his trusty servant Adam. There they encounter Duke Senior and his merry men, and Orlando spends his days writing poetry to Rosalind. Soon “Ganymede” meets Orlando and playfully attempts to cure him of his lovesickness for Rosalind.

In the final scene, the whole company learns that a life of love, although filled with much folly—is indeed a life most jolly. Heigh-ho!

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